Temporarily shutting down factories, providing extra vacations and discounted tours to locals, building new motorways, China is doing all it can to ensure that Hangzhou’s sky looks blue and the city is traffic free before the world leaders land in the Chinese city this week for the G20 Summit of the world’s major economies.
Beijing is determined to proceed without a hitch to give a makeover to the metropolis to ensure that the visitors go home with a good impression, reports the Guardian.
World leaders, including US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Theresa May, along with many other important leaders will arrive at Hangzhou for the annual summit, which takes place on September 4 and 5.
To bolster the makeover efforts, construction teams have been paving roads, digging sewers and throwing up brand-new three-story abodes in recent months for some of 6,800 inhabitants of Mantoushan, a low-income community close to the cavernous International Expo Centre where the heads of the world’s leading economies will assemble.
The Chinese authorities have also reportedly ordered the closure of churches in the eastern city to “create a safe environment” for the world leaders when they meet. In an effort to reduce congestion, the local officials have declared a week-long public holiday coinciding with the G20 Summit and are reportedly trying to convince thousands of residents to leave the city by giving them discounted tour packages.
The authorities have refused to reveal the exact cost of Hangzhou’s G20 revamp but claim the massive infrastructure works will forever alter this city of about six million.
Meanwhile, thousands of migrant workers have left the city due to the halt in their work lives and the growing inconvenience caused due to preparations for the G20 Summit.
China is currently witnessing what many call its harshest political crackdown in decades and Zou Wei, a Hangzhou-based dissident, said the police had forbidden local activists from speaking against the ruling government so that it does not come as an embarrassment for the Communist Party before the G20 guests.