Sunday, September 27, 2009

China's 60th Anniversary Celebration

October 1st is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. We have celebrated this holiday every year including the 50th anniversary, which was a big celebration too. However, never in China's history, have we had a celebration on this scale! 200,000 people will be in the parade, including 80,000 students from elementary schools to universities in Beijing!

To prepare for the parade, participants and students have been practicing since mid July, even on those hot summer days. Students didn't have time to enjoy the summer break. Some thing I have never heard before was the multiple rehearsals, which blocked streets of Beijing for multiple weekends. Since August 29th, every Saturday night was a rehearsal night until this Saturday, September 26th. Then, the streets in downtown were all blocked beginning on the late afternoon on Fridays and continuing until Saturday mornings. Even though only downtown streets were blocked, it affected almost all traffic around Beijing. It was not only cars and taxis that were not allowed in those streets, but also public buses and subways were affected. Buses were rerouted and subways gates were closed along Changan Avenue (where the rehearsal and parade are held). One weekend, I was in rush to finish shopping with the suppliers, but couldn't make it because the streets were blocked. I couldn't get a taxi, bus or subway for more than half an hour. Finally, one bus came and I didn't care where it went, I just jumped on it and left the downtown area.

Now that October 1st is only a few days away, traffic restrictions even got more strict. No cars, vans or trucks from other provinces are allowed to drive in Beijing. Delivery trucks that are usually allowed to drive on the Fifth Ring road and Fourth Ring road in the night are not allowed to drive in the city at all. All businesses have been seriously effected. My suppliers told me that they can't receive or deliver any goods now. Even if some goods could get into Beijing, they also get checked and delayed! Every day I hear our suppliers warn me about the issues with the traffic control. Our shipment to the U.S. may have to be delayed or we won't include the products we ordered because they couldn't get into Beijing.

The hotels along Changan Avenue and near Tiananmen Square won't be opened from September 29th to October 2nd (including the famous Beijing Hotel!) Imagine that, how much money will these hotels lose? Hotels located on Changan Avenue, but far away from the square, such as China World Hotel, can only have guests stay on the backside of hotel, not the frontside.

I really hope all these efforts will make the parade a big success. Here is one video for your viewing. I also hope you will have the opportunity to watch it on the TV or on the computer. I wish I were in China so that I could watch it as all Chinese do!

I have not read much about China's 60th Anniversary celebration in the U.S. media, except for this Time article that will come out tomorrow, which I also learned about it on the Chinese website. It also didn't mention much about the parade and effects it has brought to Beijing residents and businesses. But you can learn all things about 60th Anniversary celebration on the Chinese website.