Giant on the move
National Day magistry
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
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