Airbnb stops Beijing rentals ahead of Party Congress

Airbnb stops Beijing rentals ahead of Party Congress

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US short-term rental service Airbnb has removed listings in Beijing as the capital prepares to host a five-yearly Party Congress later this month, the most important event on China's political calendar during which security is at its highest. A Reuters search on Wednesday of Airbnb listings in the city's center yielded "zero" results for all of October. Listings were present as recently as Tuesday evening for periods including the congress dates of Oct. 18 to 31. "Due to external circumstances, homes in certain areas in Beijing are unavailable through October 31," Airbnb said in an email to hosts. The move, mirrored by local rental firms, comes a week before the congress where President Xi Jinping is widely expected to consolidate power in a leadership reshuffle. Such high-profile events are often accompanied by increased surveillance and online censorship.