Apec Summit: What you need to know about Beijing's preparations

Workers set up decorative lights on trees for the upcoming APEC Summit, at the Olympic Park in Beijing on October 30, 2014. --PHOTO: REUTERS
Workers set up decorative lights on trees for the upcoming APEC Summit, at the Olympic Park in Beijing on October 30, 2014. --PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING is pulling out all stops to make sure that leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting on Nov 7 to 8 get a taste and feel of China's rich culture.

Here's what you need to know about Beijing's preparations for the summit: 

Major makeover of Huairou

Among the buildings built for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit is a convention centre in traditional Chinese architectural style. It can accommodate 5,000 people. Buildings like this have redefined the skyline of Huairou.--STPHOTO: ESTHER TEO

Huairou, dubbed the tranquil back garden in Beijing, has been given a major makeover in the past year since its picturesque Yanqi Lake was picked to host the Apec summit.

The once-quiet mountainous district, which is about 50km from Beijing's city centre, now has a stunning convention centre built in traditional Chinese architectural style and a 21-storey scallop-shaped hotel.

The village of Fangezhuang near the lake has also got a thorough facelift. Stone pavements have replaced dank and dusty alleyways, while miniature landscapes featuring bridges and running water give the pedestrian street an ancient feel. Sculptures and carvings detailing Chinese folklore also line the street.

It is said that some 480 million yuan (S$100 million) has been spent on greening and landscaping.

Sprucing up Beijing

Workers installing lighting on an Apec sign post at the financial district in Beijing on October 28, 2014. The capital is getting a makeover as it prepares for the summit. --PHOTO: REUTERS

The government is replacing 450,000 of the 750,000 flower pots in downtown Beijing. The new blooms will feature Apec themes.

The city has also repaired major roads, renovated old buildings and whitewashed exteriors of buildings along major streets.

Costumes

Traditional Chinese-style jackets, or tang zhuang, have been designed for the more than 20 leaders who, in keeping with Apec tradition, typically pose for a group photo at the beginning or end of the meetings.

The outfits are expected to have "new meaning and style" that will make them different from those worn at the 2001 Apec summit in Shanghai.

Dishes

A cook prepares for the Apec summit in Beijing. --PHOTO: AFP 

A sumptuous menu featuring a range of dishes from Beijing and other parts of China is waiting to be served.

The menu even includes simple fare that is popular with the locals, such as spring rolls, pork dumpings and sugar-coated hawthorn or tanghulu, said the People's Daily.

Security

Some 1,000 surveillance cameras have been installed in Beijing's Huairou district, where the meetings will be held.

These digital high-definition cameras are capable of zooming in to a resolution that can distinguish faces up to 30m away and monitor movements 500m away.

Beijing police launched an antiterror drill last week to test the responsiveness and coordination of the police force, with different police departments handling simulated terror incidents at two of the venues.

Pollution control

Vehicles drive on the Sihui overpass amid heavy haze and smog in Beijing, in this October 11, 2014 file picture. --PHOTO: REUTERS 

To ensure blue skies for the Apec meetings, Beijing will launch a traffic control system that allows cars to be used on alternate days, based on whether the licence plate numbers are odd or even.

The system, similar to the one Beijing introduced during the 2008 Olympic Games, takes effect on Monday (Nov 3, 2014) and will last until next Wednesday (Nov 12, 2014). It aims to cut total traffic by 35 per cent.

In August, the government announced plans requiring cities and provinces surrounding Beijing to suspend production at heavy polluters and cut production capacity by 30 per cent at other factories. Construction and demolition work will also be halted.

Congestion

Apart from taking cars off the roads, about 530,000 public-sector employees in the capital will be given a six-day break from Nov 7 to 12 to reduce the capital city's notorious congestion.