The Headline Prince
Qi Gua reports from Beijing
Most Beijing residents lead unenviable lives: smog all year around except for grand occasions such as the Olympics; infernal traffic for most of the day; few convenience stores, let alone 24/7s. Overhead walkways and underground passes seldom have escalator access; the traditional quadrangular courtyard (si he yuan) long ago disappeared with the lifestyle of the hutong, or small neighbourhood, and soaring house prices put most of the city out of reach to ordinary citizens. Whenever foreign dignitaries visit or the state hosts the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (NPC and CPPCC), main roads are blocked off and security checks go into overdrive.
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[*] Xi Jinping applied ten times before he became a party member. His father Xi Zhongxun was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, and Xi was deemed not suitable to be a member of the party.
[†] The recorded history of early China can be traced to 841 BC, but no further back.