Roads, subways closed for Oct. 1

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, September 30, 2009
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Wide-reaching traffic lockdowns and a visible array of security in central Beijing for Oct 1 will likely drive those interested in the National Day Parade to the comfort of their own homes to watch the festivities on TV.

The daytime parade and the evening gala at Tian'anmen Square, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, will impact traffic on bus routes, subway lines and on roads today and Thursday in the capital. For most of the public, getting close to Tian'anmen Square will be a mission impossible.

Traffic authorities will shut down many roads, mostly within the third ring road, for nearly the entire day on Thursday.

A total of 241 bus routes will also be affected today and Thursday. Some will cease operating, and others will take passengers on detours, the municipal transport authority said on its official website yesterday.

Subways will also be heavily affected, as Line 1 will stop operating between 11pm today and 3:30pm Thursday. Other subway lines will skip certain stations Thursday.

The Qianmen station on Line 2, the Xidan station on Line 4, and the Dongdan station on Line 5 will be closed all day on Thursday.

Other stations will be closed from Thursday morning to 3:30 pm, such as Jianguomen, Chongwenmen, Hepingmen, Xuanwumen, Changchunjie and Fuxingmen stations on Line 2; Chongwenmen and Dengshikou stations on Line 5; and Guomao station on Line 10. Subway trains will skip these stations during operations.

Meanwhile, the Beijing Capital International Airport will shut down for three hours starting from 9:30am Thursday.

Some 180 flights will be affected. The airport handles at least 1,000 flights per day, or at least one flight every minute.

The shutdown will probably cause a delay in flights for the rest of the day, experts warned.

Beside the difficulties of getting to the spot, only about 30,000 guests from the public are lucky enough to be invited to watch the parade or evening gala at Tian'anmen Square. The guests include representatives of residents living close to the square, said Ji Lin, vice-mayor of Beijing.

The capital's uninvited and those in other parts of China and the world have to compromise with watching the celebrations on TV.

CCTV and will deliver live high-definition coverage of the National Day celebrations including the military parade in Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian.

Police suggest that Beijing residents try not to go out on Oct 1 to avoid complications. The public is recommended to watch the celebrations live on TV.

Iconic venues including the Forbidden City, Tian'anmen Rostrum, and the Great Hall of the People were sealed off at 3pm yesterday, and will reopen on Friday at the earliest, the Tian'anmen Square managing authority said.

Beijing police expect tens of thousands of tourists to visit the square when it reopens. Over 10,000 police officers and security guards will monitor Beijing street corners and checkpoints for evidence of potential threats on Oct 1. As many as 800,000 volunteers have also been enlisted to help maintain safety.

Izumi Quan, a Beijing-based writer from Japan, said she will not dare leave her home until Friday when road closures are lifted.

"I have no choice. I have tanks rumbling in front of my apartment," joked Quan, who lives near Guomao in east Beijing, a sealed-off area beginning early Thursday morning through the afternoon.

Armed vehicles will roll into the city from the Beijing East Railway Station and march onto Chang'an Avenue after a brief stop before commercial facilities and residential areas on Dawang Road.

"Everywhere it's closed. If we go out during the next two days, we can only head south all the way to the suburbs of Beijing," said Jiang Ning, a white-collar employee who lives with a roommate near Chongwenmen, another closed area near Qianmen.

Jiang's office in the capital's central business district will be closed today to leave room for parade preparations. Popular shopping areas such as Xidan, Wangfujing and Qianmen will be closed starting at noon Thursday.

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