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Communist China at 70

Beijing on lockdown for China's 70th national day

Tight security puts squeeze on transport networks and businesses

Posters with ideological slogans and patriotic messages line the streets of Beijing. (Photo by CK Tan)

BEIJING -- Security in the heart of China's capital is extremely tight ahead of the country's 70th National Day on Tuesday, with residents told to keep curtains shut and businesses facing disruptions.

The presence of security forces near Tiananmen Square -- the main venue for the celebrations -- and in subway stations appears even more pronounced than it was for the annual legislative meetings in March.

Tuesday's military parade will feature around 15,000 personnel and 580 pieces of hardware, including some of the country's most advanced weapons, planners said. Tenants in buildings along the parade route have been ordered not only to close their drapes but to avoid standing near windows or on balconies.

Bus routes have been altered and subway operations rescheduled. Businesses were wondering how to handle the constraints. "We are not sure if we can open on Monday and Tuesday," one convenience store operator said on Sunday.

Hotels are informing guests to expect difficulty getting around. "Such restrictions usually happen once every 10 years during the National Day," one hotel receptionist explained.

"Security check is tighter this time compared to 10 years ago," said a taxi driver. "We want to show our strength through the military parade. Unlike yesteryears, China today is not afraid to fight the U.S."

The clampdown extends online. Users of the Weibo social network have been warned not to insult national heroes and party history.

Planners said around 100,000 people will take part in the official festivities. Only invited guests will be allowed in Tiananmen Square on Tuesday. Thousands of temporary seats have been installed in the square, while banners with communist ideology and patriotic themes line the streets.

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