Beijing mobilizes for week-long National Day holidays
Updated: 2006-10-02 15:14

Beijing has mobilized thousands of policemen and street cleaners, added temporary toilets and ticket boxes at parks as throngs of people flooded into the city center for the week-long holidays.

Starting from Sunday, China entered the so-called "Golden Week" of 7-day-long holidays, marking the 57th anniversary of the founding of New China as well as the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 6.

On Sunday, about 220,000 people watched the flag raising ceremony at 6:10 a.m. but the Tian'anmen Square had been flooded with people shortly after midnight.

Everyone readily went through security checks at temporary checkpoints that had been set up at all the entrances leading to the square and equipped with security personnel and sniffer dogs.

Nearly every cell phone subscriber received a text message when they set foot on the square in the small hours to watch the raising of the Chinese national flag.

"Welcome to the flag raising ceremony," read the message sent by the Tian'anmen Branch of Beijing's Public Security Bureau. "Please follow the instructions of the policemen and go through a security check before you enter the square."

The message, sent daily, also gives the exact time of the ceremony.

Many tourists felt the message was a special keepsake they would not delete.

On Sunday, nearly 2,000 emergency notices were broadcast at Tian'anmen Square, looking for people, particularly children, who got lost in the crowd.

"In the busiest hours, a child was reported missing nearly every two or three minutes," said a policewoman who declined to be named. "Parents then filled up forms with the child's features. We broadcast the notice until the child was found."

The Tian'anmen branch of Beijing Public Security Bureau has sent two vans to the square for the "lost and found" service.

To make traffic smoother, Beijing's traffic police authority has taken control of traffic flows in areas around the square.

Meanwhile, another 3,200 policemen are patrolling Beijing's streets to seize unregistered pedicabs that often carry passengers at lower costs but higher risks. Police has also stepped up safety measures in local shopping centers to prevent incidents.

Sunday was the peak of the seven-day celebrations and 360,000 people visited Beijing's major parks, eight percent up from last year.

The Palace Museum, or the Forbidden City, received 59,400 visitors, outnumbering all other tourist destinations in Beijing but down by 11 percent from last year thanks to entrance restrictions taken beforehand to ensure safety.

Major parks in Beijing witnessed a smooth day Sunday as more ticket boxes, temporary toilets and cleaners were added.


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