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September 17, 2009

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Final rehearsal for holiday gala

BEIJING will close dozens of streets tomorrow for the final rehearsal of the massive Tian'anmen Square celebration scheduled to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The Beijing municipal government has suggested that businesses, schools and other organizations close during the afternoon because the traffic controls will cover 10 of the capital's 18 districts.

The October 1 celebration will feature a parade involving about 200,000 people and a military review.

Fifty-two types of new weapon systems developed with China's own technologies, including airborne early warning and control aircraft, will be showcased.

Dozens of floats will be decorated in a display of China's achievements over the past six decades.

Three rehearsals were held recently in Tian'anmen. During the last one, on September 6, Chang'an Avenue, Beijing's main east-west artery, was closed for the elaborate military parade. Several hundred military vehicles rumbled toward the avenue in front of the Forbidden City as onlookers watched from behind police lines.

Public security is also getting a workout. Safety measures have been ramped up in recent months in a campaign similar to that of last year's Olympic Games.

Officers started to check every vehicle entering the capital and patrol streets and the central business district on August 22. In addition, Beijing banned all flying activities including pigeon racing and kites.

All flights in and out of Beijing will be cancelled on October 1 from 9am to noon, as the capital's air traffic controllers will be handling an air force team involved in the parade.

Improved relations between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan will be among the achievements showcased during the celebrations, a mainland official said yesterday.

The mainland-Taiwan relationship has undergone profound changes since the People's Republic of China was founded on October 1, 1949, said Yang Yi, spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office.


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