This year’s G7 summit in Canada took place almost simultaneously with the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization leaders in China’s Qingdao. But while the heads of the Group of Seven found themselves in a series of economic and political disputes, the SCO states managed to strengthen their bond.
The streets of Qingdao are not as busy as usual: most businesses in the Eastern Chinese coastal city are closed and residents have received paid vacations. Those who chose to stay in town during this year’s two-day SCO leaders’ meeting had the chance to go to large shopping malls, which remained open or spend time with their families in Qingdao’s parks and squares.
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Right in front of the local administration building, there is a huge logo of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and slogans written in three languages — Chinese, Russian and English. The sign quickly became a popular spot for family photo-ops.
The streets are being heavily guarded by police, SWAT teams and plain-clothes agents. But other than that, things look peaceful: no wailing sirens, no tear gas or masked radicals in the streets, as often happens during G20 or NATO summits. Instead, dozens of locals gathered to film the motorcades of the Russian, Chinese and Belarussian presidents or take photos of the freshly planted flower beds.