China prepares for centenary of Communist Party in secret

China prepares for centenary of Communist Party in secret

Beijing: Chinese authorities have closed Beijing's central Tiananmen Square to the public, eight days ahead of a major celebration being planned to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party.

The square, which normally attracts tourists from around the country, was barricaded Wednesday and will remain closed until July 2. Rows of yellow seats and heavy machinery could be seen on the open plaza that also houses the mausoleum of Mao Zedong, the founding leader of Communist China.

The party will showcase the country's rise from civil war and disastrous political campaigns in the early years of Communist rule to market reforms that have created the world's second largest economy, with a superpower status rivalled only by the United States.

Old habits die hard, however, and arrangements for the July 1 anniversary remain shrouded in secrecy. Around Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City former palace complex and other scenic sites are also closed. Flyovers by air force squadrons suggest an aerial review is in the planning, but authorities have yet to release details.

Around Beijing and throughout the country, signboards have been erected and commemorative activities held, accompanied by the deployment of additional police and paramilitary forces.

The ruling party was established in secrecy in 1921, following the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1912.

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