In Beijing, all lights on for the OBOR summit – China society and culture news from May 12, 2017

Society & Culture

A summary of today’s top news in Chinese society and culture. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "China’s Belt and Road: Coming soon to a theater near you."

As of May 11, Beijing has initiated an eight-day landscape lighting extravaganza to celebrate the upcoming One Belt, One Road (OBOR) summit, the Beijing News reports (in Chinese).

Beijing strictly controls the level of street lighting in the city, and divides the operation of the city’s lighting system into three levels: ordinary days, festivals, and important festivals. National holidays such as Spring Festival and National Day, as well as special events such as the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Anti-Japanese War and the OBOR summit that will take place in Beijing on May 14 and 15, fall into the last category. On the highest lighting level, all-night scenery lights across the city will be on from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. For this duration, the newly installed 2,290-square-meter net of lights and 10,860 reed lamps surrounding the National Grand Theater of China have been put into use.

A brightly illuminated Beijing, however, doesn’t come without a price. Although most comments on the news were censored, a post by a internet user on the social media platform Weibo suggests that Beijing has restricted the use of electricity in several areas. Many hotels were ordered to switch off central air-conditioning. “Phone signals have been quite weak recently, probably because some base stations were closed,” the user wrote (in Chinese).