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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Proclamations of the Red Queen

8th August 2008

China: Beijing and the Curious Traveller

Posted by: Craig Young

Courtesy of DNA magazine and the Utopia-Asia website’s China/Beijing section, I thought I’d provide a peek at what curious gay male Olympic spectators and tourists might see if they want to visit alternative Beijing.

With its East Coast Chinese-fuelled economic boom and breakneck modernisation, Beijing’s quality of life is going up, although the historic assets of China’s considerable antiquity are still undergoing some refurbishment, and there’s even a move toward urban garden landscaping to combat its grey metropolitan past. Pollution relief is still an ongoing problem, although the Chinese authorities are cracking down on ecological difficulties caused by poor factory pollutant prevention, and the air quality has reportedly improved.

Acccording to Utopia-Asia, it’s usually best to avoid the Beijing scene, and try to find ones way into smaller scale social networks. Pubs and saunas are filled with ‘gay-for-pay’ sex workers (or “money boys”) , and blackmail, robbery and assault also occur if one isn’t on one’s guard outside these venues. Don’t wander into isolated areas alone, as urban crime does occur, and also insure one’s belongings are secure. Like any other large metropolitan centre, petty theft and pickpocketing happen in Beijing.

Utopia-Asia also advises travellers to avoid cruising areas, as robbery and assault have been known to occur unless one is a fluent Chinese speaker, and is familiar with the areas in question. Dongden Park was one of those targeted in March 2008’s reported ‘crackdowns’ and is reported to be a particular black spot insofar as hustling and extortion of vulnerable tourists goes. Surprisingly, Tianenman Square is reported to be highly cruisy, as is Wendoku Park.

That said, the Utopia Asia website also contains several advertisements for male masseurs, so one can only wonder…


Utopia-Asia: China/Beijing:

Tags: Politics

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