BEIJING - It is all systems go in China's capital Beijing, with the mood resembling a "lull before the storm" on the eve of the 60th celebrations of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Carnival will break out today (October 01), with parades by both the military and civilians.
Today is China's National Day, when the country celebrates Chairman Mao's proclamation of the creation of a new China at Tiananmen Square in 1949.
The obvious attraction will be the military parade, for which preparations are said to have been thorough and to the last detail. A fireworks display, using 300 000 shells, will be held over half an hour; and as tanks roll through the heart of the city, and fighter planes zoom overhead, the People's Liberation Army will reveal 52 new types of weapons, including its latest nuclear missiles - all made in China.
The military display will be a major attraction to guests and onlookers alike, for various reasons, not the least of them being how much China is willing to reveal against the backdrop of its new policy to "open up" to the rest of the world.
Roads leading to the main arena will be closed to avoid traffic congestion. While guests will gather in Tiananmen Square for the celebrations in the morning, residents in the area have been advised to stay indoors or minimise their movements.
They have been encouraged to rather watch the event on national television, as it will be screened live.
"Police suggest that Beijing residents try not to go out on 1 October to avoid complications. The public is recommended to watch the celebrations live on TV," reported the English language China Daily newspaper yesterday.
Security has been tightened, and there is an increased presence of security details throughout the city, who have been beefed up by hundreds of volunteers. Offices have been closed, and staff and residents warned not to open windows or watch the parade from their balconies.
The military parade will be followed by celebrations of ordinary people in the afternoon that will end around 11 pm.
Roads in the centre will be closed for most of the day, and the Beijing International Airport will shut down for three hours.
Almost all businesses will be closed for most of the day. As early as Monday, for example, there were no new engines on the assembly line at vehicle assembly and engine manufacturer Foton, as the company was getting ready to shut down for the National Day holiday.