Changing China

Giant on the move

National Day magistry

September 15, 2009

First the Olympics and now National Day — China is once more tightening the screws on foreigners living in Beijing, with random identity checks and restrictions on movement, because of worries about security ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Communist Party coming to power, on Oct. 1.

Of course for Chinese, the burden is far heavier when it comes to these controls. Foreigners are generally given much more leeway in China, possibly because many police are uncomfortable dealing with the hassle of language and cultural barriers.

But those who live in the alleyways close to Beijing’s main thoroughfare, Changan Avenue, are in the heightened security zone on either side of the military parade that will be the centerpiece of the day’s celebrations.

Instead, foreigners are being given an order that offers a humourous but sharp reminder of how authoritarian China’s government can still sometimes be.

The messages being relayed by the police can be summed up this way: Stock up on food, take your passport everywhere and no guests are allowed. 

Here is a copy, in the original English, of a notice being given out in one part of central Beijing, issued for “the pleasure” of residents’ “happy life”:


To the foreigners:

October 1, 2009 is the 60th anniversary of founding the People’s Republic of China, Celebrations and Eve Gala Evenings will be held according. The closedown and cordon off area will include the area that you live in curtain period. For the smooth going of your daily life, we take the pleasure in announcing the following issues:

1. Please reduce your going out as possibly as you can. While having to go out, please definitely take your passport and the <<temporary accommodation register form>>.

2. You had better refuse the visitors who possibly can not arrive at your abode.

3. Please save certain of living necessity, then the peripheral store won’t can provide convenience.

4. Please obey the policeman’s direction and control. Your co-operations are most appreciated.

5. Please pay attention to the government’s announcement about traffic control, and work well your route of travel arrangement in advance.

Dong Cheng District Public Security Bureau wish you having a happy life in our magistracy!

Dong Cheng District Public Security Bureau

September 4, 2009


Photo captions: Top: Participants stand in form in a boulevard leading to Tiananmen Square in Beijing during a rehearsal for the 60th anniversary of the founding of Communist China August 29, 2009. REUTERS/Nir Elias

Bottom: Security forces march through a boulevard leading to Tiananmen Square in Beijing during a rehearsal for the 60th anniversary of the founding of Communist China August 30, 2009. REUTERS/Nir Elias


“no guests are allowed”

actually, base on the actual wording, what they mean is that you might want to NOT have guests at the time (a request, not an order) because of the heavy traffic and cordoning, the invited guests may not be able to get to you.

as to the “heavy burden” of the chinese, have you seen what happens in NYC when UN and presidential visits occurs. MASSIVE delays, headches, and worse.

i have relatives there and according to them things are cool and they are actually quite excited about all the activity going on.

Posted by sdagsdagasg | Report as abusive


I know three people who were refused registration, so it’s nothing to do with translation. The display was impressive, but the restrictions terribly inconvenient. The airport was closed for three hours (understandable) but people whose flights were delayed got no compensation if they missed onward connecting flights.

Posted by Beijing resident | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see