China / Society

Hebei cities consider APEC holiday

By Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-10-30 07:51

Hebei cities consider APEC holiday
Staff members at the China National Convention Center demonstrate how to set up a meeting room for the upcoming gathering of APEC leaders that will take place in Beijing next week. The center is a major venue for the gathering. Wang Jing / China Daily

APEC tidbits

Armed police guard venue

Armed police began to patrol the venue where the APEC meeting will be held, the Beijing Huairou International Conference Center, on Monday, Beijing News reported. They are guarding entrances and exits and checking identity documents, and are ready to deal with any emergencies. A command post has been set up, and armed officers will be on duty 24 hours a day. Plainclothes police have also taken up positions at the center, and patrol cars will tour the area continually during the meeting.

Agreement limits exhaust emissions

Bus and taxi companies and logistics firms have signed an agreement with environmental officials in Beijing guaranteeing that vehicle emissions will not exceed permitted levels during the APEC meeting. Vehicles from outside the capital that emit excessive levels will be blacklisted and refused entry to the capital, Economic Daily reported.

Hospitals to provide holiday service

Beijing's main hospitals, including Tiantan, Chaoyang and Children's Hospital, have been instructed to provide outpatient services for at least half a day during the APEC summit holiday, Beijing Daily reported. Hospital staff will benefit from the capital's six-day holiday from Nov 7 to 12. The Municipal Administration of Hospitals issued a statement saying sufficient levels of medical staff, including senior doctors, should be on duty during the meeting. Hospitals should make alternative arrangements for those seeking treatment on days when their outpatients departments are closed, the statement said. All hospitals should clearly post their open hours during the holiday.

Move designed to cut pollution in capital region during summit

Two cities in Hebei province that are close to Beijing are considering giving residents a six-day holiday in an effort to improve air quality during the APEC meeting.

Langfang and Baoding have asked provincial authorities for permission to grant the holiday next week. The move follows Beijing's announcement earlier this month declaring a six-day holiday from Nov 7 to 12, Beijing Times reported.

The capital will host the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting from Nov 5 to 11.

If the application by Langfang and Baoding is approved, many residents - mainly employees of government departments and institutions - will also have a vacation from Nov 7 to 12.

The move is designed to reduce the number of people in areas close to the capital, cutting the amount of traffic on the roads and reducing pollution caused by human activity, according to the province's Environmental Protection Bureau.

Ruan Jie, a Baoding resident, said she was excited to hear about the proposed holiday. "It is a windfall for us. If the holiday is approved, I want to travel. It is good for me and for the meeting," Ruan said.

Feng Yinchang, a professor specializing in the study of sources of urban particulate matter at Nankai University, Tianjin, said that if the holiday goes ahead it will affect traffic, companies and social activities.

"It is hard to know how many people will stop driving cars during the holiday and how many companies will halt operations that produce pollutants, but it could certainly have a good effect on air quality," Feng said.

"To control air pollution, the government needs to have a long-term plan in addition to implementing emergency measures, which are necessary, especially during important conferences such as APEC."

Hebei has been taking a series of steps since the beginning of October to reduce air pollution during the upcoming summit.

The measures include banning high-emission vehicles on city roads and expressways throughout the province.

Vehicles carrying earthwork materials, construction waste and dangerous chemicals are being kept off the road in areas within 100 km of Beijing. During the meeting, work will be halted at 881 sites where excavation, demolition, waste transportation and similar activities that generate dust take place.

Other construction operations will be reduced by half, and barbecues and waste incineration will be banned.

If air quality continues to deteriorate, an additional 1,564 construction sites will be shut down.

The measures should enable the province to cut locally generated air pollutants by 30 percent during the summit.

However, three cities in Hebei - Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital, Zhangjia-kou and Chengde - were criticized by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on Tuesday. The ministry said the cities' plans to ensure air quality are not strong enough, and they lack a clear strategy to control levels of production at factories.

Officials at Hebei's environmental protection bureau told Hebei Daily they have set up a special command center to guarantee fresh air for the APEC meeting.

The center will obtain data about air quality in 143 counties across the province and in Beijing. If areas near Beijing have more smog than the capital, the province will issue a red alert, the highest warning level for air pollution.

Contact the writer at


Hot Topics