French Students Sell Crepes In Shanghai, Flee From Chengguan

Two French foreign students selling crepes in front of Tongji University in Shanghai.

Two French foreign students selling crepes in front of Tongji University in Shanghai.

From ifeng:

French study abroad student sells crepes, customer shouts “run” when chengguan arrive

On the 21st, at Tongji University’s Siping Road Campus near the south gate, two handsome French study abroad students [foreign students studying in China] had set up a cart selling “French crepes”. Unexpectedly, they encountered chengguan law enforcement, something they have not previously experienced, and with a reminder from Chinese students, they fled.

Students who saw what happened very quickly went online and posted “French crepes [sellers] really did encounter the chengguan“, and this little cart became famous overnight. As a result, the price of “french crepes” has also increased from the original first day price of 4 yuan to 5 yuan.

Benoit & Julien, two French exchange students in Shanghai selling crepes outside Tongji University.


French crepes 4 yuan each

On the 21st, near the Tongji University’s Siping Road Campus south gate appeared a fresh crepes stand—-the vendor being two handsome French youths. As learned from posts on Sina Weibo, Douban, and other websites, the two of them are French study abroad students who have come to Shanghai, their names being Benoit and Julien.

One white tricycle, one wooden counter top, one “French crepes” sign, one frying pan, and some ingredients and cooking utensils is everything they have. In the midst of a bunch of street vendors, they stand out. Every crepe is priced at 4 yuan, and most of the students passing by are willing to buy a crepe to try it.

Julien and Benoit, two French students selling crepes to local university students on the street in Shanghai, China.


Customer yells “Run” when the chengguan arrived

“French crepes [sellers] really did encounter the chengguan” poster “MOTOOOOOO” said that he had gone to buy a crepe that night and while he was at it, told them “you’ll run into chengguan for setting up a cart/stall in front of the school gates”. It became clear that the two of them did not understand what chengguan are. He told the two: Chengguan are similar to America’s CIA (Central Intelligence Agency}, “when the chengguan come, all of the street vendors and peddlers around must flee”.

Just as the handsome French boys were preparing to make “MO-TOOOOOO’s” second crepe, the chengguan unexpectedly actually came. The other street vendors and peddlers took precautions and fled in all directions, while Benoit and Julien remained confused. At this time, the Chinese student who was purchasing the crepes shouted at them “Run! Escaping!” The two of them looked around them, realized that something was not right, quickly finished the crepe they were working on, spreading on the fruit jam and handing it to the customer, and then hurriedly collected their things.

Though the two of them were told by the Chinese student, “You are international friends, probably nothing will happen”, when the chengguan vehicle drove up and honked its horn a few times, “they got on their tricycle, both of them each carrying some stuff, and ran off in a hurry!”

The white tricycle French crepe vendor outside Tongji University in Shanghai.


走红网络次日涨价”>The day after becoming famous online, prices increase

Netizen “VO_北辰” also posted a photo on Sina Weibo sayin: “China’s chengguan have gone international, just as I was leaving, the chengguan came, and the French street vendors fled like everyone else.” This microblog message was very quickly reposted/shared 3000 times. The “French crepes” stand very quickly became famous online. Netizens one after another want to go get a taste, and chat with the handsome French boys at the same time to practice their language skills”. On the night of the 22nd, netizen “笙笙想汐” said: “Just went out in the rain and there were a pile of people next to the [French crepes] stand, with a lot of crowds looking on as well. I went too late, there isn’t enough ingredients left, they’re almost sold out!”

When this reporter arrived at the Tongji school gates on Chifeng Road, this reporter did not see any handsome French boys. A street vendor told this reporter that “the ‘French crepes’ stand set up at 7pm, managed to get a good spot, and was sold out only a little after 2 hours.” A Tongji University student said that after the post became popular, business boomed for the two, with the first day’s “discount price” of 4 yuan having now increased to 5 yuan.

According to netizen “帽子lt”, there have already been reporters who have interviewed Benoit and Julien. “They are very proud, but because of studies, they can only sell three or four days every week.” After the two of them came to Shanghai, they saw a lot of food being sold in front of the school gates, and suddenly had the idea to sell crepes, and made quite a bit of money their first day.

Benoit and Julien taking a photo with a Chinese university schoolgirl.

Comments from ifeng:


Let this imperialists also have a taste of our chengguan‘s power!


China’s chengguan, boorish and unreasonable, the symbol of reckless/indiscriminate law enforcement.


Send the chengguan to Afghanistan, public security will definitely be stable.


Looks like our chengguan can join international counter-terrorism organizations now.


I think they should have been dealt with, because if they aren’t dealt with, then things will get out of control. They were stealing Chinese people’s jobs.


The existence of chengguan has always been a freak. “Comprehensive law enforcement”, dare I ask what body of law they are actually enforcing? Who can tell me a clear answer?

The impression that chengguan give me is: They try to control the sky, they try to control the ground, and they try to control the air in the middle. In vast China, there is nothing they don’t try to assert control over.


This kind of publicity stunt has this many people making a fuss over it…? Change it to a Chinese person selling Chinese pancakes/fried-wraps encountering chengguan and who would give this any attention? In the end, two Frenchmen are flush with earnings~ And those students who helped them with the publicity stunt even get a cut~


All people equal before the law! Regardless of whether you are Chinese or a foreign beggar!

Comments from Sohu:


Chinese people are so low, ruthless when dealing with their own compatriots, grovelling when dealing with foreigners. If Chinese students were to set up a stall/cart on the street in France, they would immediately be deported back when they are caught. This is called “illegal work/employment”. If they don’t have a work visa and set up a stall/cart on the street, not only are they setting up an illegal street vendor, even applying for a business license would be illegal, because they would be taking jobs from Chinese laborers. All countries are especially protective of jobs for their own workers, China is no exception. However, in real life practice, China’s police and chengguan are all very vicious and ruthless towards their own people, while ingratiating themselves to foreigners (especially white people). Only China treats its own people as second-class citizens.


Chengguan are typical shameless hooligans!!!


Let foreign devils get a good taste of the terribleness of our country’s chengguan!


This kind of behavior should be controlled. A foreigner trying to earn Chinese people’s money, does he have a health permit?


Finding French people to practice English, this bunch of Chinese students must be mentally damaged! People who have gone abroad all know that French people’s English are the lousiest! French people speaking English is like a Hong Konger who was born and raised in Hong Kong speaking putonghua [Mandarin], maybe not even as good either. Why does China have so many stupid people!


[Is this] worth sympathizing? You go to Paris, France and set up a cart/booth selling pancakes and see. See if they’ll arrest/stop you? If laowai come to China, then they should observe the law, which means they definitely cannot set up a cart/stand in the places where it isn’t allowed!


Based upon everything I know from over 10 years of doing business, I would rather support chengguan than support French people!


This is obviously fake news, look at how that girl is also a laowai, this photograph is obviously not from within the country.

Benoit and Julien's French crepes tricycle.

Handsome French boys. Personals @ chinaSMACK.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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