2022 has been a year of ups and downs in Beijing, and indeed across China. As the year draws to a close, we thought it would be a good opportunity to look back at some of the weird and wonderful stories from each month of the year.
January – Keep Your Distance from Winter Athletes!
With the Winter Olympics on the horizon, as well as the continued implementation of ‘dynamic zero-COVID,’ it was perhaps inevitable that the two topics would collide at some point.
On January 9, Beijing traffic management authorities warned residents to keep their distance from Winter Olympic vehicles operating as part of the COVID-19 closed-loop environment.
Authorities warned that residents “should not knock on the windows” of vehicles which display a red Beijing 2022 label. They also made clear that they should not help in the case of an accident, but should instead wait for emergency services to arrive.
As far as we know, there were fortunately no traffic accidents involving Winter Olympics vehicles.
The closed-loop environment was in operation between all Winter Olympic competition venues, accommodation and elsewhere in order to avoid the potential spread of COVID-19.
Though some Winter Olympics-related personnel tested positive upon arrival in Beijing, there was no citywide outbreak of the virus as a result.
READ MORE: Beijing's Winter Olympics Warning as COVID-19 Wave Hits China
February – The Best Photograph of Beijing… Ever?
A bold claim, to say the least.
The picture shown below was taken from the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which viewers can see clearly in the foreground. Meanwhile, directly ahead in the clear sky-background lies the iconic modern Beijing skyline with the China Zun (CITIC) Tower standing out as the tallest building – the past and the present of Beijing rolled into one awesome photograph.
Image via Tom van Dillen
The shot was taken by Tom van Dillen, a Dutch national who has lived in China since 1999. And, we should make clear that van Dillen himself was humble enough to acknowledge that he did not believe it was the best photograph of Beijing ever.
Nonetheless, the photograph has made something of an impact to say the least. On Weibo, it has been viewed more than 30 million times. Meanwhile, a professor at Yale contacted van Dillen to ask if he could use the photograph in his lectures about modern China.
The best photograph of Beijing ever? It’s not for us to judge, but we’d say it comes pretty close.
READ MORE: Is This the Best Photograph of Beijing... Ever?
March – Paddy O’Shea’s Irish Pub Opens for St. Patrick’s Day
Usually, an Irish pub opening on the national day of Ireland would not make too many headlines. Then again, 2022 has just been one of those years.
This year marked the first St. Patrick’s Day since 2019 when one of Beijing’s favorite pubs was able to open. 2020 and 2021 saw restrictions due to… you guessed it… COVID-19 which forced the venue to be closed for one of the biggest party nights of the year.
On March 16, Paddy’s owner Mathieu told That’s, “This year, unless a catastrophe occurs, we will not be closed.”
A catastrophe did not occur.
READ MORE: Paddy O'Shea's: 'We're Open for St. Patrick's Day'
April – A Piece of Winter Games History on Display
2022 marked the year in which Beijing became the first city in the world to have hosted both the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In the Beijing Olympic Park, visitors have been able to see a piece of the Games’ history since April of this year.
Located between the Water Cube (renamed Ice Cube for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games) and the Bird’s Nest Stadium is the cauldron from the Beijing Winter Paralympic Games 2022; the design is the same as that of the Winter Olympic Games cauldron.
READ MORE: Beijing Olympic Park Reopens: Winter Games Icon on Display
May – Police Bust Fake Nurses
You read that right!
Don’t you just love a story involving people pretending to be nurses? It seems in this case, doing so could have helped the imposters reap significant financial rewards.
In Shisanling county, Changping district, Beijing, a routine check of procedures at a COVID-19 testing site revealed that something wasn’t quite right. Two men, aged 35 and 36 years old, were found to have been using fake nurses qualifications to work at the site.
The pair was reported to police in Changping district and later arrested.
The men were likely trying to get their hands on a slice of China’s COVID-19-testing pie. At the time, COVID-19-related jobs on any of China’s big recruitment websites offered an endless list of open positions at testing sites – many of which were by no means underpaid.
The highest salary we found was RMB46,800 per month, though the job post was a little sparse on details (there may well have been some strings attached).
READ MORE: Police Bust Fake Nurses at COVID-19 Testing Site
June – Boozy Super Spreader
Not long after the reopening of bars and restaurants for dining – following around one month of temporary closure due to COVID-19 – one particular bar found itself in the firing line of Beijing authorities.
The problem? At least one positive case of COVID-19 had visited a couple of Heaven Supermarket venues – a chain of bars with branches across the Chinese capital – in the Sanlitun area.
Image via Weibo/@中国长安网
In fact, it seems that at least one party animal had visited quite a number of Beijing establishments, on weekdays no less.
This led to a chain of infections linked to several bar venues.
Following an investigation, Chaoyang District Market Regulation Authority alleged that Heaven Supermarket venues were not properly checking guests’ temperature or proof of a negative nucleic acid test, nor were they requiring guests to scan the Beijing Health Kit (北京健康宝) QR code.
It was then decided on June 12 that Yutai Candy Entertainment Company Ltd. – the company which owns the bar chain – would have its business license revoked and be placed on a blacklist.
Six months down the line, and Heaven Supermarket is no more.
READ MORE: Beijing Bar Chain Faces Closure for COVID Superspreader Event
July – Chaos at Nali Patio
Home to some of the Chinese capital’s top F&B venues, chaos and destruction is not what comes to mind when you think of Nali Patio in trendy Sanlitun.
However, that’s exactly what one could see in photographs circulating on Weibo.
According to one photograph of a notice shared on the social media platform, there was a dispute regarding the extension of the then owner’s contract.
This apparently led to an angry owner wreaking destruction on one side of Nali Patio.
Fortunately, following a short spell of closure, Nali Patio venues eventually got back to normal.
READ MORE: PHOTOS: Chaos at Nali Patio
August – Frosted Clouds
One of the lighter story’s of 2022.
Beijing weather often has some surprises in store. However, many of the city’s residents were pleasantly surprised to see photos of the frosty-looking clouds popping up online.
According to Guangming Daily, the shapes of the clouds were formed by a combination of a strong westerly wind and a strong jet stream.
READ MORE: Did You Notice Beijing's 'Frosted Clouds' Yesterday?
September – Brawl at Universal
Universal Beijing Resort has brought joy to many following its opening in 2021.
On the other hand, it has also had its fair share of… shall we say… unwanted publicity.
During the WaterWorld Stunt Show – a popular spectacle featuring “perilous plunges” and “jumping jet-skiers” – an incident was filmed in which a brawl took place, apparently due to an argument among audience members over seating. At the beginning, a scuffle can be seen among a group of people, resulting in one individual being pushed to the ground.
A male dressed in black then runs toward the group and assaults another individual, pushing him to the ground.
The incident went viral on Chinese social media platform, Weibo.
READ MORE: WATCH: Brawl Breaks Out During Show at Universal Studios Beijing
October – Beijing’s Last Bastion of COVID Resistance Falls
Pinggu – a district in the far east of the Beijing municipality – was perhaps better placed for avoiding the spread of COVID-19 than other areas of the city.
It’s remote, unconnected to the Beijing Subway and has a relatively low population density.
The district reported zero cases of SARS during the 2003 outbreak, and zero cases of COVID-19... until October 28, 2022.
Many put the district’s resilience to the two viruses down to its many peach trees. We’re not sure about the science on that one though.
READ MORE: THIS Beijing District Was SARS- & COVID-free, and Then...
November – Beijing’s Mega 5-Line Interchange Subway Station
As part of the ‘Comprehensive Beijing Rail Transit Network Plan (2020-2035),’ the Beijing Subway is ever expanding.
One particular stop in Fengtai district will be crowned the network’s first ever station to allow passengers to interchange between five different lines.
Lize Transport Hub is due to be completed by 2025, reports Beijing Daily. The construction is part of a plan to connect the Lize Financial District – oft referred to as Beijing’s “Second Financial Street” – with other parts of the Chinese capital.
The station will connect Line 14, Daxing Airport Line, Line 11, Line 16 and the Lijin Line. Passengers will be able to reach Fengtai Station in six minutes, Beijing West Railway Station in eight minutes and Beijing South Railway Station in 12 minutes.
READ MORE: THIS Mega Beijing Subway Station Will Be a 5-Line Interchange
December – Beijing Ditches COVID-Related Entry Restrictions
Since November 2021, entering the Chinese capital from elsewhere on the Chinese mainland was not all that easy.
Those entering would be required to show a negative nucleic acid test issued within 48 hours of departure, as well as a normal Beijing Health Kit (北京健康宝). Arrivals would then be subject to several tests following arrival in the city.
And, as many of you may have experienced, your Beijing Health Kit could quickly become not normal having traveled to an area of China with recently reported COVID-19 cases.
All this changed on December 7 as China began dismantling ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ policies.
Not a bad end to the year.
READ MORE: New Rules (Or Lack Thereof) For Entering Beijing
[Cover image via Weibo/@21世纪经济报道]
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