Business owners in the northeastern port city of Dalian are protesting government plans to move ahead with construction of a second metro line after the Oct. 1 National Day holidays, saying they should be offered compensation for the closure of a key street.
Local residents began displaying banners at their storefronts expressing their grievances, saying they have petitioned local authorities for compensation several times in recent months after plans to close off the entire street were revealed by the municipal government.
Some of the banners, based on photos posted on the overseas-based Jasmine Revolution website, read: "We need to eat. We have families to feed," and "No compensation: unreasonable."
Business owners on the city's Shandong Road, which will soon see the construction of a station on the Dalian Metro, said on Monday that trade had already been badly hit by the announcement.
"Business is worse than it was," said an employee who answered the phone at a general store on the street. "We're not getting very many customers."
"This started after they closed off the road."
A dumpling shop proprietor surnamed Wang said his takings had been hit by the move, too.
"Our storefronts are all along a street, so if they close off that street it will affect sales," he said. "We think that the government should agree to compensate us by a fixed amount, because we have all rented our premises; we don't own them."
"We still have to make the rent and pay our staff," he said.
Wang said many business owners were locked into rental leases of between three and five years. "We can't stop renting them because we have a contract," he said.
Around 30 local businesses have been campaigning for the past month, after their businesses were badly hit by the lane closures and the rerouting of bus services away from Shandong Road.
They want compensation from the Dalian municipal government. "It's their project," Wang said.
A business owner who answered the phone at a shop selling eyewear said: "There's no way to compare sales figures with last year's."
"They have gone down by more than a half," she said. "We don't even know how long the street will be closed off for."
She said the authorities had left a single lane of traffic open along Shandong Road in the face of local complaints.
"But now they are saying the whole street will be closed off after the Oct. 1 holidays," she said.
Lines 1 and 2 of the Dalian Metro were given the green light by China's cabinet, the State Council, which approved plans for urban transit systems in 34 Chinese cities in 2009.
The lines are scheduled to open in the second half of 2014.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.