Changing China

Giant on the move

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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.