Chang Ping | China Change This article was first published on August 24, 2015, in China Change web site “Watching the news lately, one feels nauseated by the stark contrasts. On the one hand, you have the Tianjin blasts, where you see how poor the governance was before the explosions and how chaotic the aftermath. On the other, you have the military parade to celebrate victory in the Anti-Japanese War, where each and every participant makes immaculate goose steps in complete unison, and every formation is executed to utter perfection. In this juxtaposition we are witnessing the paragon of imperial rule….” – An anonymous netizen [caption id="attachment_3973" align="alignleft" width="300"] Members of a Chinese military honor guard marching (Myles Cullen, Wikimedia common)[/caption] A restaurant in Beijing recently put up a notice saying that due to military rehearsal, the local police station required diners to show their identification cards, register their ID numbers, full names and mobile telephone numbers before placing an order. After a real-name registration system for the using Internet, buying kitchen knives, and purchasing cold medicine, the idea of a real-name registration for ordering a meal is a joke no more. This is merely one of the many things that are exasperating residents in the leadup to the grand military parade to be held in Beijing on September 3. The Beijing municipal government also sent out a notice saying that the city would exercise temporary measures on motor vehicles, limiting traffic to even or odd-plated cars on alternate days for two weeks. In order to guarantee the air quality in Beijing before and during the troop review, from August 28 to September 4, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Shanxi, and Henan—altogether five provinces and two metropolitan centers—are being made to immediately cut emissions, stop production, and limit the manufacturing of more than 10,000 enterprises. This will mostly impact the steel, chemical, rubber, and other pollutive industries. At the same time, nearly 9,000 construction sites will need to suspend work. Some steel companies, mineral processing plants, and pelletizing plants in Xuzhou, Jiangsu, [500 miles away from Beijing] also received notice to stop or reduce production. For a Chinese economy that is already slowing, this is like adding hail to snow. Even more inconceivable is that from early September, entertainment will be banned, with a large number of television dramas suspended from broadcast. A number of popular cultural tourist sites, like the National Palace Museum, will also be temporarily shut. A Chinese media personality sighed: this grim and harsh atmosphere leads one to “not know whether it is celebrating the victory against the fascists, or the victory of the fascists.” Netizens say, “the authorities are using fascist ideology and methods to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the defeat of fascists.” This isn’t just an amusing one-liner. It’s an accurate depiction of precisely the reality taking place right now in China.