Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, October 26, 2018

Who could resist this headline?

This headline from the South China Morning Post almost begged to included in this blog.

Two Chinese cities and legions of police disguised as ‘dancing aunties’ and students on alert for presidential visit
Amid the morning quiet, there were clear signs that someone important was about to arrive. In Futian, the city’s central business district, roads around the Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning Exhibition were blocked and residents wondered aloud about why they had to suddenly shut their windows.

All businesses within two blocks of the museum – hosting an exhibition of the province’s role in country’s reform and opening up 40 years ago – were closed and the museum itself had been shut for a month in preparation for Xi’s visit.

Pedestrians trying to go in for a closer look were shooed away by people who at first glance looked like students, grandpas and square dancing aunties but were all carrying the same kind of water bottles and mumbling, hooked up to earpieces.

The presence of these undercover personnel appeared to double by two hours later when Xi’s motorcade approached the museum. Security was just as tight across town in Qianhai where the streets were largely deserted…

The president’s motorcade was later spotted in Guangzhou’s Tianhe district outside Jinan University, the first of its kind to take in overseas students of Chinese descent after the country opened up to the West four decades ago.

Access to the campus had been limited in the lead-up to the trip, with students told to take Tuesday and Wednesday off class.

But there were still people around the grounds.

An older woman apparently doing her morning exercises gave herself away when she suddenly pulled out a walkie-talkie from a pocket.

Plain-clothes officers posing as students were also stationed every five metres and security checks were ramped up after 2pm ahead of Xi’s arrival…

At around 5.30pm, Xi finally ended his trip to the university and the security around the campus dissolved.

One professor later said how excited he was to get to shake hands with the president, while student representatives who also shook hands with Xi vowed to “never wash their hands again”.

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