FOREIGNERS have been barred from meeting in large groups at Beijing’s pizza restaurants, at least until the Chinese Communist Party’s meeting is over.
Police are targeting student hangout spots in the city’s university district as they ramp up security ahead of China’s largest annual political gathering, the two sessions of the National People’s Congress.
Local pizza outlets have to limit the number of their foreign student patrons to no more than 10 at any one time, South China Morning Post reported.
One notice at a pizzeria Pyro Pizza said: “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.”
Wudaokou, Beijing, 2018 until whenever Xi dies. pic.twitter.com/O5VNNipdRn
— Nathan Attrill (@nathanattrill) March 11, 2018
It was reportedly issued on the first day of the National People’s Congress without any explanation. A nearby cafe also posted a similar message.
Three restaurants and bars in the area said police told them to keep out big groups of foreigners until two days after the end of the annual session of the NPC. “We can’t let foreigners in our door after 8pm,” one employee told the Post.
“There are police officers patrolling outside every night. Plus, there are security cameras everywhere in the restaurant and on the street – the feeds are all connected to police stations,” the employee added.
“We were told that if we did not comply, our business would be shut down immediately,” another restaurant employee said.
While an officer at the police station in charge of the area denied any such notices were issued, he acknowledged that they’ve stepped up security for the meeting.
“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 officer said. “[Security control] is definitely normal practice, but everything is stricter during the two sessions.”
Peking University student Malcolm Surer thinks the move is part of the government’s measures to clean up Woudakou, described as an “unsavoury student rat nest” by Time Out Beijing as well as other nightlife areas in the city.
A version of this story originally appeared on our sister website Study International News.