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Beijing to commemorate the end of WWII with military parade -

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MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The city of Beijing is preparing for a massive military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Our China correspondent Stephen McDonell is on his way to Tiananmen Square and I spoke to him a short time ago.

Stephen McDonell, Beijing has effectively been shut down, it seems. What's the significance of today's parade?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well, this is China's big celebration of the end of World War II and of course, here it's viewed as a war of liberation against the Japanese who occupied large parts of this country well, from the early '30s right through til the end of World War II.

And so, what they're going to be doing is turning on a very huge and spectacular military parade, if ones we've seen in years gone by are anything to go by and we're talking thousands of troops marching through the city.

They'll also roll out some of the latest military hardware so people get to see them - missiles, tanks, helicopters, planes and the like.

They've been criticised though, the government, for using this anniversary as something of a show of China's current military might.

They, on the other hand would say, well, you know, that's just our way of showing that we might have been pushed around by Japan and others in the early part of the 20th century but we're not going to let that happen again.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: And security is obviously pretty tight. Is that because there are political sensitivities surrounding this?

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Yeah, well remarkably tight. I mean to get to where I'm standing now, we had to go through a very circuitous route through the city. Anyone who's been to Beijing will know the big east west thoroughfare, Chang'an Avenue, well, that's completely shut down.

One or two blocks back from Chang'an Avenue, also shut down. All those offices are closed, people aren't allowed to look out their windows, even, if they live there.

Now what they might be worried about for example is a bombing.

We've heard that the suspects in the Bangkok bombing were Uyghurs. They are ethnic Muslim separatists from the West of the country and that that was some sort of payback because Thailand handed these ethnic Uyghur asylum seekers back to China and it's that very type of action that the authorities seem to be worried about.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: China correspondent, Stephen McDonell.