BEIJING (AP) — China has banned flying kites, drones and captive pigeons over central Beijing for more than two weeks as it prepares for a military parade and other celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule on Oct. 1.
Flying activities that affect flight safety are prohibited in seven of the capital city’s 16 districts from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1, according to a notice posted Sunday on the Beijing municipal government’s website. The banned activities also include flying balloons and lanterns.
Military planes flew over the parade route Sunday as China held rehearsals for the second weekend in a row. Tanks and other military vehicles rumbled along the same road the previous night. The broad road was closed to both vehicles and pedestrians, with any onlookers kept behind barriers at least one-block away.
The parade is part of a huge ceremony planned at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to mark the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949. Communist forces took power after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist army in a civil war. The Nationalists retreated to the island of Taiwan, where they set up a rival government called the Republic of China.
President Xi Jinping will deliver a speech at the ceremony, and more than 100,000 people will take part in what is described as a “mass pageantry.” Organizers have said that the military parade will be larger than ones held on the 50th and 60th anniversaries, as well as the last one held in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Tiananmen Square was closed to visitors over the weekend and due to reopen on Monday at 10 a.m., the official Xinhua News Agency said. Some roads and subway stations were also closed at various times, as well as access to buildings along the parade route.
Training pigeons is a traditional pastime in China, and racing the birds is a popular sport. Pigeon coops can be seen on the roofs of buildings in old neighborhoods in Beijing.