At least, not until the Communist Party meeting in Beijing is over.
Police are targeting student hangout spots in the city’s university district as they ramp up security ahead of China’s biggest annual political gathering.
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.”
It was reportedly issued on the first day of the National People’s Congress (NPC), 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,” said an employee at a pizza shop.
“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.
A restaurant employee said:
“We were told that if we did not comply, our business would be shut down immediately.”
In other words, do not force your way into these pizza shops (and other restaurants), no matter how great your craving for bread, cheese and tomato sauce are. (Here’s a guide on how to order fast food in China and here’s a list of other food delivery options to use instead of antagonising the Communist Party)
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,” the officer said.
To students, the move comes off a little racist.
Fernando, a Master’s student at Peking University, lives in Woudakou and is a loyal customer at the area’s pizzeria and cafes, the patronage of which he admits are predominantly foreign.
And while he understands the need to keep the peace during the important meeting, barring foreigners is just “discriminatory”.
“It’s not that we’re going to be the ones that are starting a revolution to get rid of the party.”
Another student at Peking University is 25-year-old 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.