Bei­jing mo­bi­lizes 850,000 citizen guards for WWII pa­rade

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Bei­jing has mo­bi­lized 850,000 res­i­dents to pa­trol the city to en­sure se­cu­rity ahead of a huge mil­i­tary pa­rade com­mem­o­rat­ing vic­tory over Ja­pan in World War II, state media re­ported.

The “vol­un­teers” from “all walks of life” have been trained and will be sent to “ev­ery street, ev­ery al­ley” as well as stores and mar­kets, the of­fi­cial Xin­hua news agency said late Wed­nes­day, cit­ing a Bei­jing po­lice spokesman.

They will look for signs of “se­cu­rity haz­ards” and re­port them to po­lice, it added.

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment of­ten uses huge amounts of man­power to strengthen se­cu­rity dur­ing ma­jor events, such as the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics and the fol­low­ing year’s 60th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of Com­mu­nist China in 1949.

A se­ries of other mea­sures have also been taken for the pa­rade on Septem­ber 3, which will mark the 70th an­niver­sary of vic­tory over Ja­panese forces as well as the broader de­feat of the Axis pow­ers in World War II.

Com­mu­nist China gen­er­ally shies away from the vast an­nual demon­stra­tions of mil­i­tary might that were a hall­mark of the Soviet Union, nor­mally hold­ing such events once a decade to mark the foun­da­tion of the Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic.

But Bei­jing is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly as­sertive in the re­gion and regularly ac­cuses Tokyo of fail­ing to show suf­fi­cient con­tri­tion for Ja­pan’s 20th-cen­tury in­va­sion of China.

Other than Rus­sia’s Vladimir Putin few ma­jor for­eign lead­ers have said they will join, although South Korean of­fi­cials said Thurs­day that Pres­i­dent Park Geun-Hye would at­tend the broader com­mem­o­ra­tions -- but no fi­nal de­ci­sion has been made on whether she will at­tend the show­piece pa­rade.

Pa­rade Route

The cen­ter­piece of the pa­rade route is through Tianan­men Square, the sym­bolic heart of the Chi­nese state, and the For­bid­den City on the north side of the plaza will be closed for two weeks from this Satur­day.

China’s im­pe­rial palace dur­ing the Ming and Qing dy­nas­ties, it is a UNESCO World Her­itage Site and re­garded as Bei­jing’s top tourist at­trac­tion.

The clo­sure was due to “work ar­range­ments and de­mands”, a no­tice on the Palace Mu­seum’s tick­et­ing web­site said.

Cur­fews will be im­posed in Tianan­men Square and the nearby Wang­fu­jing shop­ping cen­ter dur­ing re­hearsals this week­end and for the ac­tual pa­rade, state media re­ported pre­vi­ously.

A search Thurs­day on the web­site of the five-star Grand Hy­att ho­tel, next to Wang­fu­jing, showed that the fa­cil­ity “is not avail­able” for four days un­til Septem­ber 4, say­ing it “is ei­ther sold out or not yet open for reser­va­tions”.

“There will cer­tainly be some changes to our open­ing hours,” a ho­tel spokesman told AFP, with­out elab­o­rat­ing, adding it would also be sub­ject to re­stric­tions dur­ing the re­hearsals.

Bei­jing Cap­i­tal In­ter­na­tional Air­port and the smaller Nanyuan air­port will be closed for three hours on the morn­ing of the pa­rade, ear­lier state media re­ports said, and a two-day stock mar­ket hol­i­day has been de­clared.

Mea­sures have also been im­posed to try to en­sure blue skies in the no­to­ri­ously pol­luted city, for both the pa­rade and the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships which be­gin in the cap­i­tal on Satur­day.

Steps im­posed from Thurs­day in­clude odd-even li­cence plate re­stric­tions on pri­vate ve­hi­cles, fac­tory shut­downs and curbs on con­struc­tion in the cap­i­tal and nearby re­gions.


Visi­tors walk through an un­der­ground tun­nel dur­ing a tour for jour­nal­ists and mem­bers of the public at the Jiao Zhuang Hu Tun­nel War­fare Site on the out­skirts of Bei­jing, Wed­nes­day, Aug. 19.

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