Beijing bans wearing of Halloween costumes on subway ahead of Apec summit

A lady (right) takes a selfie with her friend before an installation of 500 pumpkin lights to mark Halloween in Shenyang, north-east China's Liaoning province on Oct 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 
A lady (right) takes a selfie with her friend before an installation of 500 pumpkin lights to mark Halloween in Shenyang, north-east China's Liaoning province on Oct 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Beijing police have warned people they face arrest for wearing Halloween fancy dress on the subway as it may cause crowds to gather and create "trouble", a state-run newspaper said on Friday, unveiling a list of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit-related restrictions.

Next month's meeting of Apec leaders is being billed as the Chinese capital's highest-profile international event since the 2008 Olympics. Aside from widespread traffic controls and road closures, starting from Saturday and running until Nov 12, the city is massively ramping up security, which is what appears to have prompted the Halloween warning.

With Halloween's arrival, the wearing of fancy dress or scary make-up on the city's extensive subway network could cause "panic", the Beijing News noted. "Public transport police point out, please do not wear strange outfits in subway stations or in train carriages, which could easily cause a crowd to gather and create trouble," it said.

The police had the power to arrest those who "upset order", the paper said. "If the chaos is serious and causes a stampede or other public safety incident, the police will deal with it severely in accordance with the law."

Halloween is not widely celebrated in China, where the government officially frowns on "superstition", though Western festivals and holidays like Christmas are increasingly marked by the middle class, though usually with no religious connotations.

The run-up to the Beijing Olympics was also marked by similar strange rules, including a ban on eating outdoors, in a bid to present a "civilised" image to the outside world and prevent any hint of social disturbance.