Sunday, September 06, 2009

Holiday Preparations

October 1 will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Naturally, there will be loads of celebrations, which is to be expected, but there are also loads of restrictions in place, very reminiscent of last year's Olympics. For one thing, last weekend they apparently started to close the Forbidden City and Tian'anmen Square to visitors, and this weekend they started to close the metro stations along Chang'an Jie from Tian'anmen to Guomao so anyone who needed to get to such popular stops as Tian'anmen, Wangfujing, Dongdan, etc, was SOL. Also, in the past few days they closed down access to the Workers' Stadium, so all the restaurants and businesses in there (including my newly discovered hot dog place) are shut down temporarily. A friend reported the reason for the closing--while at a friend's apartment overlooking the stadium she saw that the inside is filled with tanks (presumably here for a parade, rather than a repeat of June 4, 1989, though who knows, maybe they can do both??). The tanks are apparently covered with tarps for the moment, though you can still make them out.

Businesses along Chang'an Jie have also been told that they must vacate their premises by 8pm on Sept 28 or they will find themselves locked in without a way of getting out until October 4. The fact that the holiday only starts on Oct 1 does not seem to have any relevance to this instruction. All I can say is I'm glad we're leaving on the morning of the 29th, not to return until the evening of the 7th.