Beijing’s Tiananmen Square was closed to visitors on Wednesday (June 23) and the surrounding roads were closed in preparation for the Communist Party’s centennial celebrations scheduled for July 1.
The Tiananmen Area Management Committee issued an announcement in early June that Tiananmen Square would be temporarily closed from June 23 to July 2 to allow for construction work needed for the centennial party celebration. According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, a large set complete with the words “1921-2021” has taken initial shape in Tiananmen Square, and a large number of seats have been arranged in the center of the square. Many large construction machines have also been stationed in Tiananmen Square.
The Associated Press, in its report on Beijing’s preparations for the centennial party celebration, highlighted the Communist Party’s old habit of keeping everything secret, as military aircraft often fly in formation over Tiananmen Square, suggesting there may be air shows or demonstrations, but the authorities have not yet announced the program or program for the party celebration ceremony.
The first national congress of the CCP was held secretly in Shanghai in mid-1921, then temporarily moved to a boat in Jiaxing for security reasons to continue the meeting. For this centennial celebration, the CCP hopes to show how it has evolved from an insignificant political group to a ruling party leading a large nation of 1.4 billion people, and how China has grown from a so-called poor country to the world’s second-largest economy after the United States.
The 20th Communist Party Congress is scheduled to be held next year. By convention, it is an important meeting for the transition of top power. But Xi, who has already served two terms as the top leader of the party, government and military, is largely certain to break with the norm and seek a third five-year term. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has strengthened his power base internally, made strong claims to territorial sovereignty externally and expanded China’s influence in the world through his “Belt and Road” plan. On Wednesday, Xi spoke with three astronauts aboard a space station being built by China in a powerful demonstration of the country’s technological prowess.
As Party Day approaches on July 1, large billboards and signs are popping up all over Beijing and in China’s major cities to remind the party of its upcoming birthday and to create a joyful and festive atmosphere.
However, what was also noticeable was the increase and strengthening of security measures in various places.
In the area around Tiananmen Square, the number of police and armed police officers on duty increased significantly, and pedestrian inspections were more frequent than before. According to a notice issued by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, traffic control measures will be implemented in the Tiananmen Square area and related roads from June 26 to 27, as a result of the Party Day rehearsal activities.
Beijing has not relaxed its epidemic prevention vigilance in this party celebration, which is also a key point in the party celebration and its preparation. Hong Kong Ming Pao recently reported that all participants of the party celebration in Tiananmen Square must complete two doses of the Chinese vaccine, and those who inject foreign vaccines will not be able to enter the venue.
The Central News Agency also reported that some Taiwanese living in Beijing have been invited to attend the party celebrations. Those who accepted the invitation were asked to take their first nucleic acid test two weeks ago and a second one every other week, and are expected to be placed in centralized quarantine starting June 28.