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A temporary new restriction limiting the number of foreigners allowed at restaurants in Beijing’s university district of Wudaokou has some expats worried.
According to South China Morning Post, local authorities have ordered establishments in the area to allow only 10 foreigners inside at any given time.
Wudaokou, Beijing, 2018 until whenever Xi dies. pic.twitter.com/O5VNNipdRn
— Nathan Attrill (@nathanattrill) March 11, 2018
Upon its implementation, photos of the notices posted at the restaurants frequented by students have been widely shared on Chinese social media.
“Until March 22, every Friday night and Saturday, as requested by local authorities, we can only allow a maximum of 10 foreigners in our store at a time,” a notice posted at a pizza parlor read.
“We appreciate your understanding during these challenging times. If you have any questions, please contact us at WeChat.”
While the reason was not elaborately explained in the notices, it is believed that the temporary measure was intended to beef up security for China’s annual parliamentary session, which is currently being held in Beijing.
Seen at other locations as well pic.twitter.com/PlPGli77gJ
— Brian Hart | 贺伟力 (@BrianTHart) March 11, 2018
Security is of the utmost importance during the country’s largest political gathering, keeping protesters and activists under close watch. Foreign students have also been viewed as a security concern.
Affected establishments say that they have been told by police to keep big groups of foreigners out until March 22, two days after the end of the National People’s Congress’ (NPC) current session.
“We were told that if we did not comply, our business would be shut down immediately,” one restaurant employee was quoted as saying.
The police reportedly issued the notice on the first day of the NPC last Monday, according to one restaurant manager who added that no reason for the restriction was provided.
Seeing this being shared on WeChat in response to news of Wudaokou restaurants putting caps on foreigners during lianghui pic.twitter.com/vudDbVoN2S
— Noelle Mateer (@n_mateer) March 13, 2018
Interestingly, at least one police officer from the Zhongguancun police station, which has jurisdiction over the restaurants in Wudaokou, denied ever issuing such an order.
“We’ve never issued such a notice. We merely told bars and restaurants to control the total number of customers during peak hours, without making any specific requirements,” the unnamed officer was quoted as saying.
He did acknowledge, however, that security in the area was indeed raised for the annual legislative meetings.
Featured Image via Twitter/nathanattrill