Beijing eateries restricted to serving 10 expats at any one time

Published:  14 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: China, Euro, Study Abroad
Expats living in Beijing’s student accommodation district were confused as police ordered bans on more than 10 expats in any one restaurant at any time.

Wudaoku district is a popular location for expats a well as for students as it’s well supplied with restaurants serving Chinese food at affordable prices and is located conveniently for Peking University. As the country geared up for the National Peoples’ Congress, media reports began to come in of police visits to eateries instructing them not to serve more than 10 foreign customers at any one specific time. The block on expat numbers is set to end on March 22 and is being enforced mostly on weekends.

Both restaurateurs and their foreign customers aren’t best pleased by the ban, especially as it doesn’t only apply to restaurants but also to pizza joints and other popular fast food outlets. A worker at one of the restaurants told reporters the authorities turned up in person to give the order, telling restaurant owners they’d be shut down if they decided not to comply.

Unsurprisingly, a spokesperson at the local Zhongguancun police station told reporters the order didn’t exist, adding there are no restrictions on foreigners in restaurants although security has been increased. According to the representative, restaurant owners had been advised to control the number of their peak hour customers whilst the Congress was taking place, but no specific requirements were enforced, and employees are now being discreet with their comments.

A number of the eateries affected are Western-style and mainly cater to the district’s sizeable student population. Former expat student Brian Hart told the media that printouts of the notice had been circulated amongst the expat community, causing discussion as well as jokes and hilarity. At the same time, many Chinese students are less than thrilled about the abolition of the two-year term limit which gave Xi Jinping an indefinite stay as China’s president.
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