Pigeons caged, dogs banned and Internet slowed as China prepares military parade for October 1 to mark 70 years of Communist rule

Tanks and missiles that are set to roll through the streets of central Beijing on October 1 to mark 70 years of Communist rule, in what will be China’s largest-ever military parade and a show of the country’s strength.

Public access to the festivities has been banned, with the exception of the civilians involved in the parade.

In the weeks leading up to the celebrations, parts of the Chinese capital have come to a standstill during the rehearsals. Security and access to foreign websites have been further tightened, and residents in 22 million mega-city appear both excited and watchful.

The Communist Party is set to showcase legions of troops marching in lockstep and its latest weaponry. Military official Cai Zhijun said this was China’s largest military parade in decades.

October 1 marks the founding of the People’s Republic of China by Mao Zedong after the Communists won the civil war in 1949 and defeated the nationalists. The last time China held a parade on a similar scale was in 2015 when 12,000 troops marched to commemorate the end of World War II Two.

The event comes at a sensitive time for the party and its leader, President Xi Jinping. China’s economy is growing at its slowest pace in decades amid a trade war with the United States.

However, it also comes at a time when Hong Kong residents have protesting there since June, demanding greater democracy. The government’s policies in its western Xinjiang region also came under fire at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Hotels near the historic Chang’An Avenue have notified travellers about 12-hour lockdowns during rehearsals. Residents from buildings overlooking the avenue have been denied access to their homes.

Other parts of the city have been cleaned and spruced up.

Makeshift barracks for security guards have been removed, unsightly electric cables kept out of sight.

And Beijing’s many pigeon owners have been told to keep their birds in cages. Authorities have reminded dog owners that they are not allowed to walk canines taller than 35cm in the centre. Some residents have taken to walking their labrador retrievers under the cover of darkness.

Internet service has at times become spottier, and virtual private networks (VPNs), used by journalists and businesses to circumvent China’s “Great Firewall,” have been disrupted.

Source : Various

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