Beijing in lockdown for China's World War II military extravaganza

posted on 02 Sep 2015 16:20 by simonz1982
(CNN)Chinese President Xi Jinping is determined that Thursday's massive military parade -- the first since he came to power in 2012 -- will proceed without a hitch.

Hundreds of factories have been shut to ensure that when the 12,000 troops, 200 fighter jets and 500 pieces of military hardware make their way through the ancient heart of the Chinese capital they will do so under clear, smog-free skies.

Flights in and out of Beijing will be canceled for the parade's duration and, just to ensure that the city's air space is safe, monkeys, falcons and dogs have been deployed to scare away birds.

And while Chinese will enjoy a three-day public holiday as part of the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, good luck to anyone wanting to tune out the pomp and pageantry.

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Broadcasters are prohibited from airing any entertainment programs, half of Beijing's five million registered cars are banned from streets and many of the city's parks and tourist attractions are shuttered.

Those living within the lockdown area will be virtual prisoners: <a href="/">They</a> aren't allowed to leave their homes, invite guests, use balconies or even open windows.

By Wednesday afternoon, central Beijing was like a ghost town with shops and roads closed but many said they were excited despite all the disruption.

"I definitely feel proud of my country, that it's showcasing the victory and prosperity," said Zhang Zhijun, a business researcher, who had to leave work at noon because of the lockdown. "But there was no explanation or negotiation with Beijing residents about all the hassles the parade has caused."

High stakes
Commonplace under Chairman Mao Zedong, China has held fewer showpiece parades in recent decades.

The last was for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 2009 under the watch of former President Hu Jintao.

For Xi, the stakes are high. The victory parade allows him to project his power, both domestically, and in a region where many countries are wary of China's ambitions, says Tate Nurkin, a defense and aerospace analyst at research firm IHS.

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