Security squeeze in Beijing ahead of anniversary celebration

  • China
  • Saturday, 07 Sep 2019

Beijing: Beijing karaoke bars are closing, toy weapon sales are banned and every delivery package is being scanned: the capital is taking no chances weeks ahead of a massive military parade to mark Communist China’s 70th anniversary.

Beijing has been preparing for the big celebration well ahead of the Oct 1 event, with several large screens installed at Tiananmen Square, where tanks and other army hardware will be shown off.

Security was already tighter than usual to enter Beijing’s massive square as guards sifted through every bag in the long line of local tourists heading for a visit on Thursday.

Several kilometres away, the Workers Stadium has been closed off, with temporary high walls covered in fake grass surrounding the facility normally used by Chinese football team Beijing Guoan.

A security guard said the government “wants to use the stadium for the 70th anniversary preparations”.

All businesses inside the stadium, including a gym and restaurants, have been told to close between Sept 5 and the Oct 1 national day.

“The government has notified us to close up,” said Joey Xu, manager of Puerta 20, a restaurant inside the stadium.

“Our staff will get paid vacation. But the government isn’t compensating businesses for their losses.”

Other businesses near the stadium are also closing up from mid-September.

“Authorities fear that businesses around the stadium that operate late into the night, especially ones with loud patrons like ours, could cause disturbances,” said a manager at the Mei Karaoke bar, who only gave his last name, Zhang.

The parade comes as a trade war between Beijing and Washington threatens to drag down the global economy and follows three months of anti-government civil unrest in Hong Kong.

The parade is expected to showcase some of the most advanced weaponry of the Chinese army, in an attempt to drum up patriotic fervour.

Other plans for the anniversary celebration include an awards ceremony, fireworks, souvenir stamps and coins, an official documentary and a musical. — AFP
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