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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Heavy Security Planned for China's Anniversary Celebration

By Stephanie Ho
30 September 2009

China is gearing up to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the modern Communist state. Heavy security has been imposed throughout Beijing and there are strict limits on who can actually attend the gala events on Tiananmen Square, to make sure all goes perfectly.

With a few short words, Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People's Republic of China, on October 1, 1949. The crowd of 300,000 people gathered in front of Tiananmen Gate was ecstatic as they celebrated the Chinese Communists' civil war victory over the Nationalists.

For Thursday's anniversary, China will celebrate how far it has come. One highlight is a military parade that will showcase China's newest nuclear missiles, among more than 50 types of weapons.

Military leaders have said the display of military might is not meant to intimidate China's neighbors, but to celebrate the country's achievements.

Officials say all of the weapons on display were developed and made in China, and much of the hardware will be shown in public for the first time.

Most Chinese are expected to watch the festivities on television.

Thousands of extra police are on the streets and extensive traffic restrictions in Beijing forced many people home early Wednesday and will keep them home on Thursday, during the parade and an evening gala performance on Tiananmen Square.

Local resident, Cui Jin, says she thinks the parade should be big.

She thinks China needs a strong defense and a very capable army in order to have peace and security.

In the run-up to the anniversary, more than 800,000 retirees have been mobilized to keep watch over the city's streets.

Hotels are not allowed to rent rooms that face Changan Avenue, the main road along which the parade will travel. Residents whose houses line the parade route are banned from opening their windows or going out on their balconies.

The ban has even extended to kites and pigeons, although the restriction on pigeons will be temporarily lifted Thursday, as tens of thousands are to be released as part of the celebration.

Heavy fog blanketed Beijing Wednesday, but the Chinese government is doing everything it can to ensure that the anniversary is a beautiful day.

The air force has been mobilized to take steps to prevent rainfall and fog from dampening the parade. State media quote air force officers as saying 18 planes equipped with rain dispersing equipment have been deployed outside of Beijing - just in case.

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