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Beijing to continue ban on ads in Tian'anmen
By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-13 00:05

Beijing is expected to continue a ban on advertising at Tian'anmen Square and areas along Chang'an Avenue, including ads on vehicles like buses, the city's municipal government announced yesterday.

The informal ban could become official as it has been written into a piece of draft legislation that called for public submissions in September and October last year.

Beijing began to remove advertising in the area and has forbidden vehicles with ads from passing since 1999, when the capital city celebrated the 50th anniversary of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Tian'anmen Square, the biggest city square in the world, holds a special place in Chinese people's minds.

The Tian'anmen gate rostrum, where the late Chairman Mao Zedong announced the founding of the PRC, and the Great Hall of the People, where the annual conferences of the country's top legislative body -- the National People's Congress -- is held, are located within the square.

Chang'an Avenue, the widest street in China, passes the square.

Among the 20 residents who gave submissions via the Internet late last year, some believed that vehicles should be able to carry ads as it would be favorable to the city's appearance.

Others agreed with the ban and some even suggested that the embargoed area should be increased.

"After careful consideration, we finally chose to continue the current policy over advertising management in Tian'anmen and along Chang'an Avenue, which has proven to be an effective in practice" Zhou Jidong, director of the municipal government's Legal Affairs Office, said Monday.

According to Zhou, any loosening of restrictions would negatively influence the area's image. Any tightening would impact on the development of the advertising industry.

Zhou made the remarks Monday during a press conference in Beijing. His office is responsible for drafting local governmental regulations, as well as local legislative items, which are submitted to the local people's congress for discussion and approval.

Meanwhile, it was also revealed that Beijing is not expected to ban begging and busking at subway stations and on trains.

An initial railway management draft said it would be forbidden to beg or busk at the entrance of urban railway stations, within the stations and on trains. It aroused hot debate.

Among the 50 residents who commented online about the matter, 16 were for it, 15 were against and the remainder believed it needed further consideration, said a source with the Legal Affairs Office.

Many people agree that citizens should be allowed to solicit others for money. Zhou's office finally deleted the item from draft legislation.

"This is because we think begging and performing in subways are not within the range of safety aspects for urban railways, the topic of the legislative item," Zhou explained.

He said since the country has no law that bans begging in urban railways, the Beijing municipal government will not adopt such a stance.

But sources said that there are already at least seven provinces and municipalities that banned begging in such areas.

Zhou also said that Beijing will further remove commercial facilities from subway stations, such as newspaper stalls, to ensure people's safety.

Also on Monday, Kong Fanrong, the director of the Legal Affairs Office's department that drafts economic regulations, pointed out that Beijing will not increase water prices, as some local media had claimed.

It was reported that the capital city would increase water charges from 2.9 yuan (35 US cents) per ton to 5 yuan (60 US cents) by the end of the year.

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