Fearing Political Unrest, Beijing Outlaws Basically Everything: This Week in Bans
Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (past editions here):
YOU NAME IT, IN CHINA
(Pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan holds a torn piece of paper with a picture of the 18th Communist Party Congress, in Hong Kong. By Siu Chiu/Reuters)
New York City protestors sometimes bristle at not being allowed to carry signs containing wood or plastic. They wouldn't like Beijing right about now. In the lead-up to today's 18th Communist Party Congress, a once-every-decade transition of China's leadership, the authorities are eliminating any and everything that could potentially cause unrest. For instance, Beijing's brass fears that dissidents will hire taxis so they can throw subversive literature out of the windows. So they've passed new regulations removing passenger-door window handles from all the city's cabs. Asia Society has a comprehensive roundup of everything that's being banned, including:
Pigeons, balloons, RC airplanes: Banned because they all can be used to deliver air-borne messages. You laugh, but in the 1990s protesters were able to distribute anti-government slogans by tying them to the feet of birds.
Anything with an edge: It's so hard to find a knife in Beijing right now that people are joking they're cutting tofu with rocks. Pencil sharpeners are verboten, too.
Trucks: There is a reported persimmon surplus in the city, because truck drivers who would normally cart them out of town aren't being allowed to travel. Says Asia Society: "We have to hope those stocking up on fruit in the city already have knives to cut it."
BOGUS GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALES, IN
In a move essentially publicizing the gullibility of its people, the city of Dublin (the one in California, not Ireland, as dumbly stated here – now who's gullible?) is cracking down on shop owners who put up going-out-of-business signs, then don't. Signs advertising a never-ending "grand opening" sale are also illegal, reports the Mercury New s. Under the new law, merchants are allowed to have these notices exactly twice in the lifetime of their business – at the actual opening and closing – and must remove them after 60 days. "It's ridiculous," Mayor Tim Sbranti told the News, stinging from an impulse spree that filled his closet with cheap luggage and cowboy boots (not really). "We have going-out-of-business sales that go on a decade."
ARIZONA HOTEL WELCOMES BACK PRODIGAL ROCKER
Rod Stewart was welcomed into the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. But up to this moment, it was uncertain if he'd ever be allowed into a certain Tucson hotel. Stewart's bad blood with Tucson's entrepreneurial class started 40 years ago when he and the rest of Faces booked into an unspecified hotel, reports the Arizona Star. The lodging's bar happened to close early that night, prompting the enraged rockers to destroy several rooms and a "miniature train," because that is totally the reaction of sober dudes who just want a small drink. Not content over that retribution, Stewart and his band checked into the same hotel during a different tour under the name "Fleetwood Mac," and trashed the joint all over again. But Tucson's mayor Jonathan Rothschild has decided to let bygones be bygones, recently telling a British TV program that "while I cannot speak to any legal obligations he may have, I can say that Mr. Stewart is welcome in our city, and we would be happy to have him visit." Steward did this week, and burned the hotel down. (Also a lie.)