Fruit Knives, Taxi Windows in Pre-Congress Crackdown

With the start of the 18th Party Congress less than two weeks away, Barbara Demick catalogues the broad range of restrictions imposed on Beijingers to ensure that all goes harmoniously. From the Los Angeles Times:

Since last month, in the name of security, Chinese authorities have turned to various baffling regulations that are snuffing much of the life out of Beijing, and police have increased their presence to keep the capital’s streets free of problems. As a result, many residents are finding the country’s political event of the decade to be nothing more than a colossal inconvenience.

Countless public events — cultural, sporting and business — have been canceled or postponed with no explanation and scant notice.

[…] The inconveniences are large and small: Yang Rui, a nationalist television host sometimes dubbed the Rush Limbaugh of China, complained on his blog about a recent experience in a supermarket.

“I looked everywhere for a fruit knife, but I failed. So I asked the clerk. He said, ‘All knives are off the shelf before the 18th party congress.'”

According to Global Times’ Liu Meng, Beijing tranport authorities have ordered that taxis’ rear windows be disabled until further notice.

A taxi driver from Xinyue Lianhe taxi company, surnamed Wang, confirmed to the Global Times Sunday that he was informed of the regulation at his company’s monthly meeting on October 13.

[…] “The company management said at the meeting that in the past, some passengers had thrown leaflets out of the taxi window, or inserted leaflets into ping-pong balls and threw them out, or would let go of a balloon which had leaflets tied to it,” he said.

[…] But many cab drivers do not seem to have heeded the instruction.

Over the course of two hours, a Global Times reporter found that only two of about 20 taxis seen at Beijing Railway Station, Dongdan and Xidan, all in central Beijing, had disabled the handle.

On the bright side, Caixin passed on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s reassurance that the Internet will not be switched off during the congress: in fact, it will “undergo maintenance to ensure it runs smoothly.”