Beijing shines bright ahead of Obama's visit
Beijing: Preparing to hold the biggest jamboree of world leaders including US President Barack Obama who would be attending this week's APEC summit, China for once managed to clear the toxic haze here to present a spick and span look of its pollution battered capital.
Beijing witnessed a bright day yesterday without the smog with the winter sun beating down the city, a rare sight for its over 21 million population after the government closed hundreds of factories in and around the city to ensure a pristine weather for the next ten days.
China formally announced the visit of Obama during which he would hold parlays with President Xi Jinping on a host of issues.
Obama will attend the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing from November 10 to 12, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
With the theme of "Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership", a series of APEC meetings involving 21 member countries will be held from November 5 to 11 in Beijing.
India is not a member of APEC. The summit is being held at Yanqi Lake about 50 km northeast of Beijing where China has built a special conference centre, a waterfront boutique hotel and 12 VIP villas on an islet besides the newly opened Sunrise Kempinski hotel nearby.
About 4,000 media personnel from home and abroad are scheduled to cover the event which is China's highest profile event since the 2008 Olympics.
The face of Beijing has virtually been reconfigured with massive high-rise constructions making it the most modern city in the world.
Besides shutting down factories, Beijing has announced plans to cut down the city's congested traffic by over 30 per cent and streamlining the public transport.
The government has also declared holiday for the all the offices in the city from November 7 to 12 which gave a chance to the over-stressed employees of the capital to plan holidays in and out of the country.
Also the security officials today held a massive anti-terror drill by its Snow Leopard Commando (SLC) units to ensure security of the venue and world leaders.
SLC Commandos are deployed in the restive Xinjiang province which witnessed massive unrest in the last few years fuelled by the native Uygur resentment over the settlements of Hans from other provinces.