70th anniversary of Japan's WW2 surrender

Beijing stops all drone sales ahead of WW2 anniversary parade

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 August, 2015, 10:50am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 August, 2015, 1:02pm

Authorities in Beijing have blocked the sale of drones for three weeks ahead of a large military parade in the Chinese capital to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war.

A notice on e-commerce site JD.com said that it had suspended drone sales for customers in Beijing between August 1st and 21st, "due to orders from Beijing's aviation authority".

The move is the latest in a series of stringent security measures ahead of the parade. Last week Beijing said that all postal packages sent to the city will be scanned and senders and receivers will have to register their real names with the postal bureau.

During parade rehearsals on August 13 and 15, roads around Tiananmen Square and Chang'an Avenue will be shut, while during the event itself, Beijing's two airports will be closed for several hours.

Despite being the home of the world's largest civilian drone maker, DJI, and having a strong domestic drone market worth an estimated US$8 billion, Chinese authorities have long had an uneasy relationship with the devices.

Drones flying at a height of less than 1,000 metres are forbidden from taking off without prior permission from the authorities, but enforcement is difficult, particularly for small consumer drones.

In December, a People's Liberation Army helicopter shot down a drone after it sparked a major security alert and delayed commercial flights.

Three people were charged with endangering public security after they flew the drone through restricted airspace in Beijing. The trio had been carrying out mapping and site measurements for a real estate project.

While the drone and postal restrictions may be stringent, they pale in comparison to precautions taken during a flag-raising ceremony to mark China's National Day in October last year.

According to local media, police in Beijing carried out "full body searches" on more than 10,000 pigeons in the city, over fears they might be used for terrorist attacks.