In the latest rounds of bricking up the hutongs and shaking things up, Wudaoying Hutong seems to have taken a hit. The alleyway, popular with domestic tourists and international tourists alike, has undergone plenty of gentrification, and was the sight of much destruction this morning.
We spoke to Victoria Yang, media director at Tube Station, who told us, "According to new [government] policies, privately owned properties can't be used for commercial purposes," Yang tells us.
The restaurants taking the biggest hit were those towards the west mouth of Wudaoying Hutong, near Andingmen Bridge. My favorite Shaanxi noodle place (nicknamed bathroom noodles because of its worryingly close proximity to the public toilets) was already shut down a few months ago, but potential reason for the closure was not clear, until now.
Yang confirms that most of the small streetside restaurants near the Andingmen Bridge are unlikely to have had full commercial licenses. One example is the Xianghe Roubing (香河肉饼) on the western side of Wudaoying, which according to Yang's colleagues, had already received warnings from authorities stating that it fell under the category of "unauthorized and undocumented housing" (违章建筑 wéizhāng jiànzhú), and therefore should not have been conducting business.
Pizza fans, don't worry, as Tube Station has full F&B licenses and won't be affected by this latest round of demolishing. Of the over 300 businesses around Wudaoying, Yang believes only approximately one third are fully licensed, meaning that we can expect the other two thirds to be demolished or shut down soon.
"Following Chinese New Year, the public safety bureau, tax bureau, city police, and the police all came by to check and warn business owners of their plans; now, they are serious." And serious the yellow-hatted men are.
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Photos: Victoria Yang