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China: Around The Nation

Beijing cracks down on illegal billboards in citywide drive

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 January, 2018, 2:23pm

Beijing’s northernmost district is expected to tear down nearly 600 advertising hoardings as part of a citywide campaign to remove illegal signs and tidy up the capital’s skyline.

Huairou district will demolish 597 rooftop billboards by the end of the year, such as the almost 20-year-old plaque at the top of the Huairou Commercial Building, Beijing Daily reported over the weekend.

“Most buildings with rooftop billboards also have signs on their lower levels,” the head of the city management committee was quoted as saying. “Enterprises typically add rooftop adverts because they are more eye-catching. It not only affects the city’s appearance but also creates safety hazards.”

Launched in November, the campaign aims to “purify the city space and to create a beautiful skyline”.

Watch how this man narrowly escapes being crushed by a giant billboard in southern China

More than 10,000 illegal billboards across the city have been marked for removal, including those placed above the permitted height or position on building facades. New regulations include a ban on signs that are more than three storeys high, over 1.5 metres in length, or use highly reflective materials.

Photos of demolished billboards can be found on social media platforms, including those from the Chinese National Geography building, the Bank of Beijing, and even a police station.

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Last week, over 40 per cent of all signs on tall buildings – 24 in total – were removed in the Nanmofang area of Chaoyang district, People ’s Daily reported.

Government officials, party members, and state-owned enterprises were told to take the lead in removing the adverts, while private businesses and individuals were encouraged to complain or report illegal billboards via a hotline, according to a government notice.

The capital has long subjected advertising banners to strict regulations. Last year, it tore down several thousand signs in a campaign to remove “illegal and unsightly billboards”.

In 2011, words associated with luxury were restricted from adverts to avoid promoting “unhealthy cultural or political trends”, the glorification of things such as hedonism, or “the worship of foreign things and vulgar words”.

Back in 2001, adverts were banned from areas near major tourist sites and government offices.