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Born to Be Tamed: The Biker Gangs Revving on China’s Roads

With red tape and social stigma, motorcycle clubs are finding it’s hard to be outlaws.

SHANGHAI — It’s an unusually snowy afternoon in January, but a typical Saturday for the Red Devils at their suburban clubhouse. Decked out in vests emblazoned with a smiling devil head wreathed in flames, the men sip Pu’er tea from thimble-sized cups and joke around by the bar. Occasionally, the powerful roar of a revving engine can be heard from the motorcycle shop downstairs.

At the table, a serious man sits deep in thought. His well-worn club vest is adorned with numerous badges, and his fingers are decorated with large rings, two with devil heads and another inscribed with “184 MC” — a coded reference to the Red Devils.

“We are a brotherhood. One for all, and all for one,” he tells Sixth Tone.