Journalists have been barred from bringing a wide range of items – including pens, books and tablet computers – to the Shek Kong Barracks of the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday morning.

In a notice to media outlets granted access to the event at the Yuen Long site, a Garrison spokesperson said the ban was to ensure the safety of attendees, RTHK reported.

PLA garrison
Shek Kong Barracks open day. File Photo: GovHK.

Banned items include pens, books, magazines, newspapers, insect spray, eye drops, sun cream, deodorant, lipsticks, drinks, food and fruit.

They are also prohibited from bringing in phone chargers, microwave transmission equipment and any gear that may interfere with live broadcasting.

The spokesperson has yet to confirm whether the Garrison will provide reporters with pens and other tools for reporting purposes, according to RTHK.

PLA garrison
Shek Kong Barracks. File Photo: GovHK.

No umbrella

Meanwhile, reporters were asked to put aside umbrellas and towels as they entered the media area on Thursday at the Hong Kong Airport. Xi arrived at the airport on an Air China aircraft on Thursday noon.

Airport security told an Apple Daily reporter that umbrellas were banned because “they might be blown away by the wind.”

handover umbrella security xi jinping
Umbrellas not allowed at the airport arrival event.

Police dogs were deployed to inspect the red carpet used at the welcoming event for Xi’s arrival.

See also: In Pictures: ‘Xi Jinping, can you hear us?’ – Hong Kong democracy activists arrested after scaling monument

xi jinping
Xi Jinping at the Hong Kong Airport. Photo: GovHK.

Xi is thought to be staying at Grand Hyatt or Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel – both are near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. Police have placed giant water-filled barriers in the area, citing terror threats.

On Thursday afternoon, some roads in Wan Chai and the area of the Western Harbour Tunnel were closed off. Pedestrians are not allowed to remain in the areas.

xi jinping security
Central Plaza. Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

Local media reported that Xi will be touring some parts of the city, such as the West Kowloon Cultural District. However, details of his other visits have not been made public. Police said they may inform the media only two hours before the events.

Police warned earlier that they will evict journalists from Handover venues for any actions unrelated to reporting.

Decorations welcoming Xi and celebrating the Handover have appeared across the city. However, the style and prominence of some of the banners have raised eyebrows.

handover decoration
West Harbour Tunnel poll stations. Photo: Kowloon East Community, via Facebook.

On the eve of Xi’s arrival, over two dozen pro-democracy activists scaled Wan Chai’s symbolic Golden Bauhinia statue in protest. They were arrested several hours later, and have not yet been released.

Editor’s note: Digital media outlets such as Hong Kong Free Press are barred from covering the celebrations and inauguration of Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam.

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Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.