BY JULIAN E. LOPEZ REUTERS/ASSOCIATED PRESS China has declared independence day, as part of a wave of crackdowns targeting dissent.
The country’s Communist Party, which holds more than 60 percent of the country’s seats in parliament, called the day “historic” in a statement, as thousands of people took to the streets.
The statement came after President Xi Jinping’s government said it had detained more than 5,000 people for political offences, including people linked to the Falun Gong spiritual group.
The Communist Party has also issued a raft of new restrictions and new rules on the Internet, including requiring mobile phones to be locked.
It also tightened its control of the internet to prevent foreign interference and shut down a popular social media platform, WeChat.
In a statement issued after the announcement, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) said it was “showing that the people of the nation have awakened and are ready to make use of the power of the state”.
It said that while the country was developing its economy and creating new jobs, it had to keep up the struggle against foreign interference in the internal affairs and the conduct of foreign policy.
The NPC did not name any specific individuals or groups.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said it expected the country to have more than 30 million people on the streets in the first half of the year, with an estimated 5 million attending the inauguration.
The announcement came as tens of thousands of protesters gathered outside the China National Congress building in Beijing to demand Xi be removed from office.
It was the first such mass protest outside a major Chinese political gathering since Xi took office in 2012.
The protesters, led by Falun Dafa practitioners, have demanded the release of jailed Falun practitioners who have been detained for alleged crimes, and the end of the crackdown on Falun Gung Fu, a movement founded in the 1970s by the founder of Falun Kung Fu.
They were joined by thousands of supporters in central Beijing, where tens of millions of people are expected to take part in the anniversary celebrations, including a rally of about 500,000 to the Forbidden City to mark the day.
The rally was the largest in the country since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown that killed thousands of Communist Party members.
China has imposed a series of restrictions on freedoms, including banning the import and export of luxury goods and food products and the establishment of a “human rights protection bureau” with wide powers to investigate alleged human rights abuses.