Register Your E-Bike or Face Fines and Confiscation
Beijing authorities brought in strict new regulations on November 1 to clamp down on the many unregistered, unlicensed, or illegal electric vehicles on the city’s roads. If you own an e-bike and haven’t yet registered it, then you risk being stopped and fined, and having your bike impounded. Among other significant changes, Segways and customized tricycles are banned from both traffic lanes and bike lanes. The sudden introduction of the new rules caused a rush at Transportation Bureau offices, so the registration period has been extended to April 2019. It’s not clear yet what impact the regulations will have on the city’s delivery services and its already overcrowded public transport system.
Beauty Pageant for Bigger Women Challenges Assumptions
The world of fashion is slowly moving away from its requirement that all models be stick-thin. Increasingly “plus-size” (larger, curvier) women can be seen on catwalks and magazine covers. In China, though there’s still an unhealthy obsession with slimness, as was seen in 2016’s craze for women posting pictures on social media showing that they’re thinner than a sheet of A4 paper, and a recent BBC report highlighting the rise of eating disorders in the country. So a beauty contest for larger women might challenge local preconceptions. The event at Beijing Marriott Hotel Northeast on November 9 will feature 12 curvy ladies competing for the title of “Ms. Plus Size International Beijing”, as well as music and a dance performance. Feminists might question whether a beauty pageant is the best way to tackle the issue, but will surely welcome the celebration of diversity in the female form.
Hello PM2.5, My Old Friend
The approach of winter in Beijing brings not only cold weather, but an increase in pollution, as coal-fired power stations crank up production to meet the demand for heating. After another greatly improved summer, we have seen the unwelcome return of smoggy skies and high AQI. So the city authorities have responded by… changing the warning system. The lowest level, a “blue” alert, will be scrapped, and the standards for red, orange, and yellow warnings are being revised. The argument for the changes is that it prioritizes longer-term problems, while the sort of low-level pollution which triggers a blue alert will usually dissipate on its own. It should be noted too that levels of particulates in the city’s air continue to fall, though they’re still higher than WHO recommendations.
Western Masterpieces on Display
There’s a rare opportunity this month for Beijingers to see works by some of the greatest artists in the western tradition. Tsinghua University Art Museum is hosting an exhibition called 500 Years of Western Art – Collection of Tokyo Fuji Art Museum. As the name suggests, it features works dating from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century, from Cranach to Warhol via Goya, Monet, and Van Gogh. Art lovers won’t want to miss it, but hurry; the exhibition only runs until December 23.
A Non-Existent Elephant, and a Dog That Wasn’t
Two odd animal stories have been amusing Beijing’s netizens recently. In one, a plausible-looking announcement from the police warned that Beijing Zoo had lost one of its elephants, and the creature was believed to be wandering around Haidian. The real police quickly confirmed that the announcement was a hoax, and invited the perpetrator to turn himself in, so they could imprison him for up to five years. Canny Beijingers weren’t fooled though; “the Zoo is in Xicheng, not Haidian,” one observed. In a rather sadder story, a lonely young man bought a puppy from a local pet shop, to keep him company. As the animal grew though he noticed that it was distinctly un-canine in appearance, so he posted pictures on social media and asked for help. The creature was eventually identified as a bamboo rat, a burrowing rodent which lives on the roots of bamboo plants. The eventual fate of the animal is unknown, but in southern China, where the animals are a significant pest to bamboo farmers, they’re hunted and eaten…
This article appeared in the beijingkids November 2018 Beijing Makers issue
Photo: Jon Worth via Flickr; courtesy of Miss Plus Size Global; artmuseum.tsinghua.edu.cn, Beijing News