This year’s military parade in Beijing commemorating the end of World War II served as a reminder that the horrors of war “must never be repeated“. But as this Saturday’s preparations in Beijing demonstrate, that doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare for it.
On September 19, Beijing will hold air raid drills in ten suburban districts and counties in order to “improve abilities to handle attacks”, China Daily reports.
The Beijing Civil Defense Bureau said the air raid drills will include the evacuation of local residents, as well as the protection of key infrastructure targets in Fangshan, Tongzhou, and Daxing Districts among other locations.
Air raid drills have been held regularly in China over the last decade and a half.
Last year, drills were held in Mentougou, Fangshan and Yanqing Districts in the outskirts of Beijing. In April 2013, during political tension with neighboring North Korea, China held an air raid drill in the northeastern city of Huichen, warning that its nuclear weapons were “on standby”. Around the same time, North Korean paratroopers conducted a drill of their own, landing at the edge of North Korean territory, just across from the Chinese city of Dandong.
In January 2013, the People’s Liberation Army air force rehearsed a drill, dropping live bombs on a mock enemy port.
In September 2011, over 1,600 soldiers participated in an air raid drill in Zunyi, Guizhou that involved soldiers shooting at mock enemy planes.
And finally, in 2000, Shanghai held air raid drills in the city’s Jiading District. It was the first time the city had held air raids since 1950.
Air raid tunnels and shelters built underneath Beijing have recently made the news as an ongoing three-year campaign seeks to evict city residents living in these locations. A vast underground network built during tensions in the 60s with the former Soviet Union, an estimated million people known as the “rat tribe”, were thought to be living in the former air raid shelters before the crackdown began.