It is quite common knowledge amongst frequent visitors in Beijing, that in Tinamen square, you will be approached by young students of art. Actually they are salesmen and the art they want to sell is most likely not of their own. We were warned and sure enough, we were approached. But they are nice people and we went with them to their art studio.
Unique Suggestions: You can go to the art studio, but say that you are a tourist on a budget and just look at their calligraphy.
Fun Alternatives: If not interested in Chinese art, say that you have been in Beijing many times and have been approached by "arts students" frequently.
If you walk around the area near the southern end of Tiananmen Square, chances are you will be approached by a duo of art students keen to show you their galleries. They will take you to a gallery, where they will show you lots of art, and (surprise, surprise) try to sell you some. Ummm... I actually bought some calligraphies, but my point is: People only appoach you, if they want to sell something.
Unique Suggestions: If you want to buy something, pretend that you're not interested. Bargain. If you don't want to buy anything, have a look around, then quickly get out of there!
In the Forbidden City (and in other tourist locations) we were approached by ”Chinese Art students” claiming that they would have an exhibition in Norway soon and they wanted us to come along to look at their paintings to get feedback and new ideas. We never did go along to see what it was all about so I can’t really comment on it :-) Maybe they just wanted to practice their English but when it happens over and over again we got a bit fed up.
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