Police are checking various popular student hangouts in Wudaokou, a university district in the Beijing’s north, to make sure they have no more than 10 foreigners inside at any one time, as the authorities want to guarantee security for the National People’s Congress, China’s biggest annual political gathering. Security is usually tight in the capital during important political events, with petitioners kept at arm’s length and activists kept under close watch.
“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 at one pizzeria said. An employee at the restaurant said the police made the request in person before the weekend, and had returned for regular checks since then.
But an officer at the Zhongguancun police station, which oversees the restaurants in Wudaokou, denied that it had imposed any limits on the number of foreign customers, “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. Such reminders are common” the officer said.