Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 17:10 UK

Chinese told to watch party on TV

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

Women soldiers at parade rehearsal - 19 Sept 2009
Military units have been rehearsing their parade steps

Ordinary people are being discouraged from going to see celebrations to mark 60 years of communist rule in China.

About 30,000 people have been invited to watch the spectacular, but everyone else has been advised by officials to see it on TV to "avoid complications".

Beijing's roads are being blocked off, the international airport will be shut and the subway will be disrupted.

The celebrations on Thursday will include a military parade that will show off unseen missile technology.

Many shops and businesses near the parade route, along Chang'an Avenue, have closed ahead of the event.

"Police suggest that Beijing residents try not to go out on 1 October to avoid complications," the state-run China Daily said.

"The public is recommended to watch the celebrations live on TV."

New Mao portrait

As well as the military parade, tens of thousands of ordinary residents and schoolchildren will also stage their own pageant in Tiananmen Square.

The event is one of the highlights of the year for the Chinese government, and troops have been practising since May.

A parade float at a rehearsal - 18 Sept 2009

Beijing plans to use twice as many fireworks as it did for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games last year, according to reports.

And the authorities have hung a new portrait of Mao Zedong on Tiananmen Gate, from where China's leaders will review the troops.

But there seems little chance of a party atmosphere beyond the main parade route.

The day before the spectacular, there was an eerie silence in some parts of Beijing on what would normally be a busy work day.

Tourist attractions closed down early. A notice on the website of the Forbidden City, the former home of China's emperors, said it would reopen after the National Day celebrations.

Beijing Capital International Airport will be closed for three hours on Thursday.

But China Central Television, the national broadcaster, plans a full day of coverage on the big day.

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