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28 Interesting Facts About Beijing

Here are 28 Interesting Beijing facts.

1-5 Beijing Facts

1. In 2010, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing began tweeting daily air quality data for its employees. Chinese citizens took notice, exposing under-reporting of pollution by the Chinese government. This outrage forced Chinese gov’t to get serious about addressing pollution. – Source

2. For the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Chinese government announced that people could apply for permits to protest in designated areas. None of the permits were granted, and many of those who applied disappeared or were arrested. – Source

3. Over a million people live in underground nuclear bunkers beneath the streets of Beijing. – Source

4. There was a traffic jam in Beijing, China that lasted 9 days and 100km. – Source

5. In 2015, Beijing banned 2.5 million cars for two weeks to get beautiful blue skies for a World War II parade. – Source

6-10 Beijing Facts

6. The Beijing subways are allowing travelers to use plastic bottles as a form of payment to encourage recycling. – Source

7. A clothes shop in Beijing banned Chinese customers and is perfectly legal in China as there is no legal ban on racial discrimination. One employee’s explanation for the ban was that some Chinese customers are too annoying and that Chinese women often try lots of clothing but end up buying nothing. – Source

8. In 2004, 240,000 manhole and street-drain covers were stolen in Beijing. – Source

9. Drivers stuck in traffic jams in Beijing can call someone to come to them on a motorbike. The driver then hops on the bike while the deliveryman waits out the jam and delivers the car to the destination when traffic clears. – Source

10. Despite China spanning five different time zones, the entire country uses the same time: Beijing Time (UTC+8:00). This causes sunrise to come as late as 9 am, during winter, and sunset to come as late as 9 pm, during summer, in certain parts of China. – Source

11-15 Beijing Facts

Image credit: en.wikipedia.org

11. The Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park in China is called “Fake Disney” due to the broad use of unauthorized Disney and Dreamworks characters. Its slogan is “Disneyland is too far to go, please come to Shijingshan!” – Source

12. The Beijing Weather Modification Office is tasked with creating rain to end the drought, reduce dust storms and prevent unwanted rain, and that between 1995 and 2003, China added 7.4 trillion cubic feet of rainfall artificially. – Source

13. Chinese guide dog users are prohibited from using public transportation and refused service by most private taxis, restaurants, and supermarkets. China’s disability law does not protect guide dog users from discrimination, and Beijing actually penalizes guide dog use within its city limits. – Source

14. In 1989, Chinese army used tanks to massacre ~300 protesting college students in broad open daylight, at the center of Beijing; Chinese government kept this as a top secret and most of today’s Chinese young people don’t know it. – Source

15. China has 170 million surveillance cameras. Some tourist sites in Beijing are using facial recognition to limit the amount of toilet paper that each person can take. – Source

16-20 Beijing Facts

Image credit: en.wikipedia.org

16. The official portrait of Mao Zedong in Beijing measures 6 x 4.6 meters and it must be re-painted and re-hung yearly due to the effects of weather and air pollution. The official artist has been responsible for painting Mao since he was 18 in 1971. – Source

17. You explicitly cannot bring catapults to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. – Source

18. Beijing has an entire replica of a Vancouver Neighbourhood. – Source

19. Beijing approved North Korea as a destination for Chinese citizens in June 2008. One travel brochure says: “Let us visit the world’s most insurmountable frontier! Let’s head to the world’s happiest and safest country, North Korea, to discover a China we were once familiar with.” – Source

20. Beijing is sinking at a rate of 4 inches per year due to the overuse of groundwater for drinking by its massive population. – Source

21-25 Beijing Facts

21. You have to win a “car lottery” to qualify to buy a car in Beijing. – Source

22. There’s an exclusive restaurant in Beijing that mostly has animal genitalia on the menu. – Source

23. Scientists at Beijing University of Agriculture have created genetically modified beef that is fattier, tastier and is marbled like Japanese Wagyu beef. – Source

24. Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium, pride of the 2008 Olympic Summer Games and which cost $480 million to build, is now a “museum piece” costing $11 million a year to maintain, has no regular tenant, and as of 2012 was being used as a Segway race track where tourists can spend $20 to zip around. – Source

25. China hired 40,000 North Korean guest workers to work on industrial training visas in 2012. It is unprecedented for Beijing to issue visas for unskilled and semi-skilled foreign workers and this deal provides workers in a region without labor shortages. – Source

26-28 Beijing Facts

26. Beijing used to be called Beiping or “Northern Peace” for brief periods of time including from 1928 to 1949 when the Chinese capital was at Nanjing. – Source

27. The Marco Polo Bridge in Beijing officially spans the Yongding River, but due to the river being diverted to different parts of the city, there is often no water under the bridge. – Source

28. Beijing has seven ring roads. – Source

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