Beijing City on Lockdown in Preparation for 70th Anniversary of Communist Party Takeover

September 24, 2019 Updated: September 26, 2019

As the Chinese Communist Party prepares celebrations for the 70th anniversary of its takeover of China, it has placed the capital city on lockdown to ensure that festivities proceed without a hitch.

As early as August, the Beijing government has forbidden all shops to sell knives; temporarily closed hundreds of clubs, restaurants, and bars; and strictly controlled people’s movements.

Provincial governments have also launched security plans and enacted “wartime” bans on drinking alcohol.

Beijing

Reporters from the Chinese-language Epoch Times called several Beijing residents, who said those who live near Tiananmen Square must now present a valid ID at security checkpoints in order to enter the area.

They also said there are strict security checks at the city’s train stations, long-distance bus stations, toll gates, and on the streets near politically important sites.

A Beijing citizen told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on Sept. 22 that Jishuitan Hospital, a large-scale first-level hospital in Beijing, has received an order from the municipal government that before the military parade takes place at Tiananmen Square on Oct. 1, the hospital shall not receive any new patients, and will only conduct emergency surgeries.

The same order was sent to the Peking Union Medical College Hospital and other large hospitals located within the “second traffic zone” of Beijing, which makes up the city’s most central districts.

Some netizens shared online videos where they gave details about the lockdown.

A male netizen who lives close to Tiananmen Square shot a video where he complained that he was not allowed to return home because police and military imposed a temporary curfew in the neighborhood while a military parade rehearsal was underway. 

Only people with an ID indicating their home address was in the nearby area could enter. The man forgot to take his ID with him, so he could not go home.

Authorities have arranged three rehearsals for the military parade, from Sept. 7–9, Sept. 14–16, and Sept. 21–23.

A female netizen said she took a long-distance bus that passed by Beijing. Upon arriving in Beijing, she and all other passengers were forced to get off the bus and go through a security check. Security officers then checked the luggage to ensure they belonged to the right person.

Forced to Leave Home

Javier C. Hernández is the China correspondent for The New York Times. He lives close to Chang’an Avenue, where the military parade will pass by.

“Since early September, the authorities have placed my entire neighborhood, not far from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, on lockdown. Roads are blocked, and the internet has slowed to a crawl. Security officers pat me down every time I enter my apartment building, morning and night,” Hernández wrote in an article published on Sept. 23.

Hernández wrote that he and his neighbors were asked to go back home before 5:00 p.m. and lock all windows and close curtains by 8:00 p.m. during the weekends when military rehearsals went on.

Outside his apartment, “bomb-sniffing dogs patrol shopping malls. Police and military officers stand guard on street corners. X-ray machines and metal detectors protect entrances to residential buildings, shops, and hotels along the parade route,” Hernández said.

One recent morning, a local police officer named Wang Yong knocked on his door.

“You need to leave,” Hernández quoted Wang as saying. “Armed police will be stationed inside [your apartment] for four days.”

After giving Hernández the order, Wang called him several days later and asked him to leave his apartment on time and checked where he will go to. 

VPN, No Kites

The Beijing government announced on Sept. 14 that no one would be allowed to fly pigeons, kites, balloons, sky lanterns, or drones in the Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai, Shijingshan, and Tongzhou districts from midnight on Sept. 15 to midnight of Oct. 2.

Meanwhile, many mainland Chinese virtual private network (VPN) companies recently sent out notice to their customers, saying they will not be able to provide service for the next three weeks, as Chinese authorities have blocked their connections to the overseas internet since Sept. 16.

The Chinese regime restricts online access to many foreign websites via the Great Firewall. Many netizens use VPN software in order to circumvent Chinese censors.

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