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2018 in review: 34 things you probably forgot happened this year

From pollution news to Shaquille O'Neal, 2018 had it all

Image: @kodai_kubota via Instagram
2018, a year of ground-breaking films, the Russian football World Cup, ten years on from the Beijing Summer Olympics, a raft of openings and closures in Beijing's transient F&B scene, fast trains to Hong Kong, and so much more. Whether your 2018 squared up to be one of the best, worst or most normal years of your life, all of us here at Time Out Beijing hope it was a happy and healthy one.

Forgot the highlights? Here's just a few of the things that happened this past year.

January

February

Beijing tremored as an earthquake hit Hebei

Though only classified as 'light' (4-4.9 magnitude) on the Richter scale, Langfang's earthquake was felt 65 kilometres away in Beijing, Tianjin and even as far as Tanggu.

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By: Leanne Wong

March

Women shed light on what it's really like to be a lady in Beijing

Revelations of sexual harassment in Hollywood and the subsequent #MeToo movement brought the world’s attention to what most of us already knew: gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence are endemic, normalised and blind to distinctions of colour, class or wealth. To find out what the situation was like in Beijing specifically, we asked Time Out readers about their experiences.

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By: Amy Hawkins

April

Beijing metro started accepting ApplePay

In April, users of iPhone 6s and newer models, as well as Apple Watch Series 1 to 3, could start linking their devices to Beijing Metro cards and swipe them to enter subway turnstiles – making lost and forgotten metro cards a thing of the past.

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Hundreds of thousands of willow trees were injected with birth control

Spring time in Beijing means one thing: the arrival of willow catkins. Aka, catkin-ageddon. Enacting a no-child-policy back in April, the Beijing Municipal Landscape and Forestry Bureau announced plans to treat over 300,000 female willow trees by injecting them with hormone inhibitors to prevent the flowering process. 

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By: Leanne Wong

May

Beloved brewpub Great Leap Brewing #12 closed

Few Beijing bars – none, it could be argued – have known the sustained success, accolades and perpetual Monday-to-Sunday buzz that Xingfucun's Great Leap Brewing #12 has had since it first opened its doors in 2012, and its abrupt closure sent ripples through Beijing.

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By: Patrick Moore

June

Beijing got really, really warm in the summer

In June, Beijing cranked the thermometer to the highest temperature seen in the city up till that point of 2018, maxing out somewhere between 38 and 41 degrees Celsius. (That's as high as 106 Fahrenheit to the Americans out there, and 314 Kelvin to the scientists among you.) Our editors took to the books to find out why. 

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July

Tim Hortons announced plans to open stores in China

In what was exciting news for Canadians, doughnut lovers and, particularly, Canadian doughnut lovers, beloved slinger of coffees and baked goods Tim Hortons announced plans to open more than 1,500 branches across China within the next ten years.

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By: Leo Russell Willis

(Some) Caochangdi art galleries were demolished

In a city well-known for brickenings, it came as depressingly familiar news to hear of the planned demolition of galleries in Beijing's Caochangdi art district. Among those affected were X Gallery and the Hong Kong-based De Sarthe Gallery. Others in the art district remained safe, but an air of uncertainty hung around like a 400 AQI smog layer. 

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By: Leanne Wong

August

The Great Wall was given hope of a facelift with help from drones

In collaboration with the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation (CFCHC) and experts from Wuhan University, tech giant Intel began using drones to carry out aerial inspections of Jiankou, using the collected images to create a true-to-life 3D digital replica, which preservationists can use to map out damage on the wall.

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By: Leo Russell Willis

September

Beijing's first high-speed train to Hong Kong opened

If you've ever wanted to get to Hong Kong slower than usual, enjoy taking the scenic route, or have a fear of flying, this speed (?) train will get you from Beijing West to West Kowloon in just eight hours.

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October

Heavily polluted days in Beijing 'down 50%' in 2018

According to stats released by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, our fine city saw a 16.7 percent drop in PM 2.5 density during the first three quarters of 2018. While this decline was to 50 micrograms per cubic metre – still above recommended levels – there was also a reported average density of just 35 micrograms per cubic metre in January, August and September, apparently the best recorded densities to date. Woo. 

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Beijing World Park turned 25

The unofficial Eighth Wonder of the World (according to us), Beijing World Park celebrated its birthday after 25 years of exhibiting scaled-down versions of 109 of the world's most famous landmarks.

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By: Patrick Moore

November

Beijing winter came prematurely

As reported by The Beijing News, the capital's autumn began on September 16, but winter came and blew out autumn's flame on October 30. That 44-day autumn meant we clocked out seven days short of Beijing's 51-day average.

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By: Patrick Moore

Sweet potatoes got gentrified

Bite by Callus opened a pop-up on Sanlitun Bar Street, and quickly caused a stir due to its priced-up sweet potatoes, served in what you might describe as 'vintage Americana incarceration chic' surroundings.

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By: Patrick Moore

December

Great Leap Brewing's new Lido taproom opened

Closing out 2018 on a high, Great Leap Brewing opened its long-awaited Lido brewpub after the closure of #12 back in May. The new space sees a whopping 40-seater central bar, and table space for another hundred or so, plus an expansion to 30 different beer taps, featuring a line-up of their classic crafts and rotating draughts, including space for nine guest beers from across the world.

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By: Patrick Moore

2018 round-up

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