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Forbidden City to close from August 22-September 3

Just heard from a reliable source that the Forbidden City will be closed from August 22-September 3. I checked online, and while there isn’t a notice posted, the Forbidden City website has suspended online reservations for those dates. The closure comes as the government has increased security in preparation for the Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Victory of Chinese People’s Resistance against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War or the CAVCPRJAWAFWx70.

It is a little ironic perhaps that the preparations for celebrating this glorious victory over fascism are starting to look a little…well…fascist, no?

As author and historian Paul French noted on Twitter, the rash of closures is not without its own irony:

I led a tour through Tiananmen Square on Saturday and things looked pretty normal (if you count a giant replica of the Great Wall made out of garden clippings as “normal”) but as we get closer to the grand wankfest parade, I would expect additional disruptions for travelers trying to visit the Tiananmen area from now through September 3 and possible limited access to Tiananmen Square and the surrounding streets including Wangfujing.  According to The Beijinger, this nonsense may well go citywide as word comes down this afternoon that Sanlitun will be under some form of curfew/martial law this upcoming weekend.

Tiananmen Gate has been shuttered since earlier this month and the underpasses north of the square under Chang’an Avenue are already closed. There was nothing on the website for the National Museum regarding possible closures there, only a banner dutifully advertising an exhibit on Art and the Anti-Japanese War, but I would definitely check ahead before heading to any of the museums (Police, Urban Planning Hall, Railway) around Tiananmen especially the week of August 31.

There has been increased security around Tiananmen this month and that’s likely to grow more intense in the days before the big parade. I usually bring my passport with me to visit Tiananmen Square. Generally the police never ask for ID unless you look like a poor Chinese farmer with a land grievance and a petition, but sometimes they get ambitious and check everybody. I like to be prepared and it’s advisable if you are heading to the area in the next few weeks.

I was forced to cancel a Forbidden City walk on August 30 and had to postpone a private tour scheduled for August 28. Hopefully things will return to normal the weekend of September 5-6.

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