Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Capital Security Crackdown

The Gate of Heavenly Peace across from Tiananmen Square
Voting has begun in the United States to see who will be the next President -- the incumbent Barack Obama or challenger Mitt Romney.

Anyone who's an American and is reading this -- please vote!

Around the time when the results are revealed, China will be starting its leadership change on Thursday.

While some 2,000 delegates of the National People's Congress descend on Beijing, the days of meetings are for this exclusive political pow wow and hardly for the ordinary folk or laobaixing.

And with all these top leaders in the Chinese capital, security is tight in the city.

How tight you ask?

Let us count the ways.

For starters political dissidents have already been removed in a "forced holiday" elsewhere -- usually back to their hometowns or in some far off place. On October 20, activist Hu Jia was bundled into a train for his hometown in Anhui province.

His parents had been threatened with violence if Hu returned to Beijing before the congress was over. "This has been way worse than the 17th party congress," Hu said, which happened in 2007 and he was under formal house arrest. "At that time I was allowed to go out and buy things to eat. This time there's just no way."

The all kinds of events from academic conferences, live performances, football matches and even the Beijing Marathon have been cancelled or postponed until further notice.

Food stalls on the streets have mysteriously disappeared and shopkeepers have been told to remove knives from shelves and not sell them until the 18th National People's Congress is over. That also means no potato peelers or can openers either.

Oh yes and stricter security checks in subway stations and also the internet has slowed down considerably.

Taxis must be secure at all times to avoid subversive acts
But then there are the more bizarre orders.

Taxis must disable the ability of passengers in the back to roll down the window or open the door easily. This is to safeguard against driving near Tiananmen Square and distributing leaflets from the vehicle. They also should not carry passengers carrying ball-like objects like balloons or ping pong balls that may carry reactionary messages on them.

And taxi drivers should regularly get out of their cars to inspect the outside to make sure protestors haven't affixed any subversive messages on the car.

No model planes or kites should be flown during the congress period and neither can pigeons trained by enthusiasts be allowed to have them spread their wings for the next several days.

As you can see it's no fun in China when the party congress is on.

While this event claims it's planning the next leadership for the people, the laobaixing feel annoyed their freedoms restricted even more and are hardly in the mood to celebrate the next generation that will lead the the country.

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