Things are changing, almost a month after the Westminster attack…

Believe it or not, though Theresa May emphasised that people’s life will not change because of the attack, things gradually changes…

Tube security

There was once when I talked to my friend back to Beijing about the 7/7 bombings back to 2005, my friend who never comes to London said ‘how stupid they are, how come they didn’t notice the bombs in the bag?’

新华社记者 李文 摄
Image by Xinhua news agency, Li Wen

I realised that he assumed the security check in London is the same in Beijing. For those who never try the underground in Beijing, you are not only to require to put your bag on the security instrument just like in the airport, but also need to have a sip of water in your bottle in front of the security guards. Moreover, only a few month after I left Beijing back to 2013, according to the, the walk through metal detectors has been set up inside of the underground.

Barrier to Entry (2006) by tompagenet
Barrier to Entry, London (2006) by tompagenet

Whilst in London, the only thing you need to do is touch in and out, and literally, you can bring anything you want on the tube, check the lost property on the tube in the past years, a life-size spiderman seems still waiting for his owner. Moreover, for DLR and most of the overground stations, there are either no barriers or most of the gates are opened.

athens metro
Athens Metro

You might think this is insane, but as far as I know, there are countries seems never bothered to install barriers, like Athens. When I stepped into the metro station with my Greek friend two years ago, I was shocked by what I saw. That is the metro line equivalent to the Line 1 in Beijing and Central Line in London.

Nevertheless, three years living in London now, the very first time I saw two armed policemen on the tube three days after the Westminster Attack. It was a Sunday, I was on the District line to Tower Hill and the tube was quite empty. Two armed policemen came inside the coach for a few stations and got off at the Blackfriars station.

To be honest, I won’t be surprised to see them at the relatively busy stations, like St Pancras or Victoria, but it is really rare to see them get inside of the tube and check the passengers on board.

BBC closes the cafe and suspend the tour to the public

image from BBC website

For those people who study media or news, BBC is always the place you want to go and have a look. The good thing is BBC at the Portland Place regularly organised tours and open the cafe to the public that you are able to view the newsroom.

The day before yesterday, I met a friend of mine who studies in French and came to London as an exchange student. I decided to give her a tour at the BBC as usual; however, when we arrived at the cafe, we have been told the cafe was closed to the public and the tour also has been suspended.

And no surprise, it is because of the Westminster Attack. ‘Not open to the public until further notice’, that is the answer we got from the security guards. Fortunately, my friend has the chance to take photos in front of the news board in the lobby.

As a matter of fact, the first time when I visit the Portland Place, I was surprised by how ‘open’ the media organisation here. Grow up and working in the tv broadcasting station in China, the public rarely has the chance to get into the building, not to mention to have a look at the newsroom.

Nevertheless, people who want to have the BBC tour might need to wait a while until ‘further notice’.

The heart of the Britain has a new set of security gates

A new set of security gates which have been installed at the Carriage Gates entrance to the Houses of Parliament PA
A new set of security gates which have been installed at the Carriage Gates entrance to the Houses of Parliament PA

According to the Evening Standard, the new gates seems ‘heavier and more reinforced, and are covered in wire mesh’, has been installed the place where the police officer Keith Palmer was stabbed to death.

It reminds me the conversation I had last year with an elder inside of the parliament after a meeting. We saw a long queue waiting for the security check from the room we were in, and the gentleman holds his pass and told me ‘you know what, when I was young, I do not even to wear this to get in’.

I can see the proud of the past and complain about nowadays from his face; however, I guess for most of the Chinese, the security check at the UK’s parliament is really nothing.

tiananmen security check 2009
Tiananmen security check 2009

Not to mention you have to pass the facial recognition, we called it to ‘scan your face’ to get into the Great Hall of the People, only applied those who have the invitations. For the public who wants to go the Tiananmen Square, the security check is unavoidable.

Queuing in front of the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong

For those who are willing to get into the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, queuing for more than 2 hours is normal, extreme security check also will be applied. No bags, no matter is big or small, no water bottles, no phone, no camera, basically you should bring nothing except your ID card. How long you are going to stay inside the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong? I guess 20 seconds maximum, or the armed police will shout at you and ‘kick you out’.


However, Tiananmen Square also have the past. Accordingly, this photo was taken between 1954 to 1958. Vegetable stalls at the Tiananmen Square, this is something that people will never imagine today.

Things changed, for better or not…


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