So the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit is going to be hosted in the capital from November 7-15, which brought about some very interesting developments- schools and non-essentials government officials are to take a break. While 26 heads of state descend upon us for high level economic talks at Huairou and the China National Convention Center near the Bird’s nest to ease traffic around town in an effort to keep pollution at lower levels. Internationals are as of now not mandated to shut down for the week as this directive only affects local public schools.
The three days from October 8-10, the air quality index was well within the city’s yellow alert level just one level shy of red- this would have had all schools shut down and stay home till the levels reduce. The high AQI index prompted the central government to issue directives as a way to tackle pollution and help the heads of states not wish for a change in venue. One such directive as stated above is the shutting down of schools and the other is the restriction of vehicles. Whether the latter might become a long term strategy is yet to be seen but for now its all about making guests feel at ease.
According our sister publication, the Beijinger, schools will be closed on Friday November 7 and Monday through Wednesday November 10-12 will be off as well, but wait for it…Sunday November 2 and Saturday November 15 to be make up days so to get work done. There’s not such thing as a free ride.
Going back to an old policy used during the 2008 Olympics, the government has restricted vehicles according to a China Daily report. The city will be switching to the odds-evens rule of having odd license plates ending with (1,3,5,7,9) only being allowed on the road on odd-numbered days while the even license plates on even numbered days. This however does not apply to public transportation and the government will add more buses to tackle the rise in numbers of commuters as its expected to be by three million according to a report by Caixin.
Construction, construction vehicles, and factories are to share the same fate as the government officials and public schools.