Beijing: Beijingers were forced to put their lives on hold today as many businesses shut down and gyms, stores and cinemas were told to close early for security reasons ahead of the Olympic opening ceremony.
One Beijing radio show host compared being caught under the security blanket to Chinese New Year, when society freezes and there is nothing to do but hole up at home with the family.
Many small shops and vendors were forced to close for the torch relay since last week. Most Beijing cinemas were also shut down to make way for a smooth opening ceremony, the Beijing Times reported. “No more movies will start after 6:00 pm,” one cinema receptionist in downtown Beijing told AFP.
The tight security rules imposed by jittery organizers meant that some entertainment spots near Olympic venues will be closed for the duration of the Games. “It will reopen on the 25th (of August),” a receptionist at the Tango karaoke club said. “It’s a government order.”
“My feelings are mixed. There are many limitations to life -- it’s a bit boring as there are few things you can do now,” said Tang Yun, a 29-year-old advertising executive at the English-language Beijinger magazine.
“There should have been a lot of outdoor activities and the Olympics could be a public jamboree.”
Initially, Beijing organizers had said the public would be able to watch the opening ceremonies on giant screens in 24 squares across the city, but there was confusion Friday afternoon over whether the screenings would take place.