China is preparing for its big 19th Party Congress next week by cracking down on all manner of things — including now Airbnb.
Beijing Airbnb bookings within a 20km radius of Tiananmen Square will be canceled for the rest of October, the world’s largest room-sharing platform said on Tuesday without further explanation.
According to a website search, that leaves only 1 percent of Airbnb listings in Beijing available for the remainder of the month.
“Similar to action taken by other hospitality companies, Airbnb listings in certain areas in Beijing will be temporarily unavailable throughout October,” the company informed its hosts by text messages on Tuesday. “Guests with reservations during this period will receive full refunds.”
With the twice-a-decade Communist Party congress set to begin on October 18th, Beijing is going into lockdown to make sure that nothing disturbs the event where Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to start his second five-year term by consolidating his power in a much-anticipated leadership reshuffle.
Already, thousands of police officers from other provinces have been sent to the Chinese capital while all police leave in Beijing has been canceled since early September. ID checks have been ramped up at transport stations around the city to detain unregistered workers, petitioners and other potential troublemakers.
Airbnb is hoping to take off in China, despite entering the market a few years late. In March, the company even unveiled a brand-new Chinese name. Its biggest competitor in China, Tujia, has also canceled temporary bookings in Beijing until the end of the month.
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