China to ensure blues skies for military parade

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BEIJING: Chinese authorities will impose strict restrictions on cars, factories and other polluters to ensure a huge military parade commemorating victory over Japan in World War II takes place under clear skies, media reported Tuesday.

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The measures—which will also apply during this month’s World Athletics Championships—echo the rules brought in for last year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit, when Beijing’s notorious pollution was replaced with a clear atmosphere derisively dubbed “APEC blue”.

The measures include controlling the number of private vehicles on the roads through odd-even license plate restrictions, factory shutdowns and curbs on construction in the capital and nearby regions, the state-run China Daily said, citing municipal authorities.

The controls will go into force on August 20, two days before the start of the athletics tournament, and last through the parade date of September 3.

The Global Times tabloid, which has close links to the ruling Communist Party, said that 80 percent of government vehicles will be immobile during the period, citing the Beijing government.

“These efforts have followed the effective measures taken during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in November and the Olympic Games in 2008,” said Yu Jianhua, chief engineer of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, according to China Daily.

Beijing’s international airport and the smaller Nanyuan facility will both be closed on the morning of the parade, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory over Japanese forces as well as the broader defeat of the Axis powers in World War II.

China officially calls the conflict the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.

The capital’s dire air quality is an embarrassment to Chinese authorities at times of international attention on the country and they pull out all the stops to ensure blue skies are in abundance.

Ahead of November’s APEC summit, which brought leaders of Asia-Pacific nations including US President Barack Obama to Beijing, authorities even banned citizens from burning the clothes of dead relatives—a traditional funerary rite to ensure they can dress in the afterlife—as an anti-pollution measure, state-run media reported at the time.

Remembrance events for the 70th anniversary of the war’s end are a “major political task,” the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said on its website, adding: “Ensuring air quality is a significant part of work to guarantee the commemorative activities as it impacts the image of the nation and the capital.”

Russian troops will participate in the parade after China’s military also took part in one in Moscow in May to mark the end of the World War II.

AFP

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