Beijing Shut Down for National Day Rehearsals

Much of Beijing is being closed down for rehearsals of the highly secretive and elaborate ceremonies for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. AP reports on preparations:

Patrons and employees spilled out on to the streets from offices, shops and restaurants shortly after lunch, hustling to subways and buses to meet a curfew in all-but name. Tactical police units with automatic rifles and paramilitary police lined thoroughfares as camouflaged tanks, trucks bearing intercontinental ballistic missiles and parade floats with models of the Great Hall of the People rumbled toward Tiananmen Square for the late-night practice for the Oct. 1 parade.

There were no crowds to cheer. The convoys passed sidewalks empty except for security. Notices went out earlier in the week politely suggesting that people working in the no-go zones leave by late afternoon and people living there stay home.

Still, the curious craned from side streets for a glimpse, sometimes in frustration. “We can’t watch. They won’t let us,” said Yang Weiying, a waitress at a restaurant, pointing to a line of police and orange-vested civilian volunteers down the street. “It’s very upsetting.”

And from Reuters:

The relentless security has grounded pigeons, lined streets with grandmothers, prompted warnings to stock up on food and left harried residents wondering who the festivities are really for.

The authorities are pulling out all the stops to ensure that when the world’s third largest economy celebrates six decades of the People’s Republic with a massive parade on October 1, nothing disrupts the party — certainly not ordinary spectators.

CCTV details
expected coverage of the event of October 1:

On October the 1st, China Central Television’s only English Channel, CCTV-9, will provide a live broadcast from 8 am local time. The special live show will run for 16 hours, beaming China’s big day to the rest of the world. Meanwhile, CCTV’s other channels will also hold their own special programs.

Wang Hao,director of 60th National Day Celebration Broadcast team, said, “The whole activity is big news. We will record every detail of this great event. We will also emphasize the change in China. We will try to make the whole celebration look respectful, graceful, and simply perfect.”

See photos of a past rehearsal via cnreviews and via YouTube:

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