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Friday, October 31, 2014

China Closes Beijing's Mass Transit to Halloween Ghosts and Goblins


By Dexter, Roberts, October 31, 2014

 China Closes Beijing's Mass Transit to Halloween Ghosts and Goblins

Those dressing up for Halloween in Beijing must stay off mass transit or face the consequences, a state-owned paper reported today. Worst-case scenario? Costumed ghouls, ghosts, and witches who board China’s 465-kilometer-long subway system and cause “panic” could find themselves arrested, the Beijing News warned.

Why the harsh admonition to garbed revelers? The crackdown on Halloween is part of a much broader, citywide security and beautification effort ahead of the APEC meeting in Beijing on Nov. 7. Other measures include carrying out anti-terrorist drills, ordering schools closed, and tightly restricting vehicles on the roads, in an effort to clean up the capital’s notorious pollution.

The last thing authorities want is a major disturbance in the runup to APEC, which will bring 20 heads of state to the city, the sort of high-profile international event not seen in China’s capital since the 2008 Olympics. Groups of costumed partygoers could cause crowds to gather who create “trouble,” the paper reported. “The wearing of gruesome costumes or scary makeup,” could also frighten other passengers, the paper noted.

The Beijing News also warned that police have been authorized to arrest anyone who causes trouble. “If chaos ensues and it causes a public safety or other serious incident, the police will deal with it severely, according to the law,” the paper said.

For the last several years on Halloween night, groups of celebrants, many of them expatriate residents, have flooded Beijing’s mass transit system. The subway has been “invaded by ghosts and ghouls for an underground flashmob,” with hundreds of people “embarking on a ghastly loop around the city,” CRIENGLISH.com reported two years earlier, on Halloween day.

As with other Western holidays including Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Halloween has grown in popularity in recent years among young Chinese, reported the China Daily today.