Dozens of muscular male foreigners dressed as Spartans were detained by Beijing police Wednesday, accused of disturbing public order in Sanlitun, one of Beijing’s hot hubs for entertainment.
According to the official Sina Weibo account of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, police rushed to the scene immediately after residents reported a group of scantily dressed foreign men attracting public attention in Sanlitun of Beijing’s Chaoyang district.
Photos posted online showed a group of foreigners wearing Spartan-like jock straps and capes marching through the streets while holding small boxes of food in their hands. Lined up in a pyramid-like formation at times, they traveled around central Beijing to promote a new restaurant product in Guomao subway station, overhead bridges in Sanlitun and Jianwai SOHO in Beijng’s CBD.
Passersby scrambled to take photos of the scantily dressed men when they first appeared on the street, and the volume of onlookers was deemed disturbing by authorities. Beijing police issued warnings and ordered them to stop, and those who failed to cooperate after several warnings were eventually escorted away.
Photos of the scantily dressed fighters spread quickly on China’s social media, and responses from Internet users were mixed.
Sina Weibo user christina2010824 thought the foreigners “were not promoting anything, they were just showing their bodies and disturbing order. The police did the right thing.”
User Wokannideidian said: “This has nothing to do with feudalism. It’s all because the activity disturbed public order. If you cos played in or in front of a store peacefully, no one would do anything to you. There was a bunch of them on the street and attracting a large volume of onlookers, what if it causes another stampede?”
User Shaoxuan1030 said: “In a country governed by law, all are treated equal, citizens or foreigners alike.”
In user Taline’s view, “the police have overdone it.” User Moyouyin thought the Spartans’ move was alright, “as they were just promoting their products.”
The authority’s move seemed unncessary to user Tom. “I guess that there was nothing else worthy of law-enforcements’ effort going on at the time.”
In China, those who want to parade for any purposes must obtain a permit from the authorities beforehand.