Central Beijing Shut Off for National Day Rehearsals

AFP reports that an elaborate rehearsal for the 60th anniversary of the PRC shut down much of Beijing today:

Tiananmen Square and adjacent roads at the heart of the capital were closed to the public from Friday night to early Sunday morning for the rehearsals which state press said involved 200,000 people and 60 parade floats.

China is planning a parade, song and dance performances, and fireworks on October 1 to mark the day when revolutionary leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of Communist China in 1949 at Tiananmen Square.

Authorities were keen to maintain the secrecy and security of the rehearsals and security checkpoints manned by officers with police dogs were seen at several points, with police diverting traffic and checking vehicles.

An article in China Daily gives more detail about the participants:

A sophomore from the University of International Business and Economics surnamed Du said he forced himself to sleep for four hours on Friday afternoon because he has a sleepless night ahead.

Du said that along with thousands of college students, he had to reach Tian’anmen Square at 9:30 pm and stay there until early Saturday morning for the rehearsal.

But Du is not complaining. “I’ve been undergoing training for the parade since July 26,” he said excitedly. “Finally, it is time see how it has worked out.”

Guo Jue, a sanitation worker who installs temporary toilets near Tian’anmen, is having a busy time, too. She has to work for 41 hours at a stretch from Friday noon, she said, to prevent those taking part in the rehearsal from using the toilets that are not ready.

See a slideshow of the National Day preparations here, via the Examiner.

August 29, 2009 10:27 PM
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Categories: Politics, Society