For starters, you might want to avoid taking taxis.
As Beijing enters extreme lock-down prior to the 18th National Party Congress (十八大 or "shi ba da" in Chinese), social media users have invented a new coded reference-"Sparta"-to talk about this otherwise censored topic on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter. A search for Sparta (斯巴达) yielded more than 3.2 million results on Sina Weibo.
To help those visiting China's capital on the eve of this once-in-a-decade change in leadership, Tea Leaf Nation has compiled a survival guide in this alternate universe known as "Spartan" Beijing:
1. Don't Roll Down the Windows in Your Taxi
Social media users have reported that handles used to roll down the rear seat windows in many taxis have been removed, apparently in an attempt to prevent passengers from distributing leaflets from the backseat.
Lin Chufang (@林楚方), editor-in-chief of iRead magazine, verified this: "Just took a cab home. I asked the driver, did your company really ask you to close the windows at all times? He said yes. Did they ask to remove the rear window handles? He said yes. What if the windows are automatic? He said the driver can lock them from the front. What if the car goes near sensitive areas? He said he would lock the door. But who would know if you don't lock it? He said there are special personnel in charge of checking this. Looks like that post on the Internet wasn't rumor, it's just me lacking imagination. Too naive!"