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Beijing bans drones for upcoming key political meeting

Beijing bans drones for upcoming key political meeting
An unmanned aircraft being tested during a campaign for disaster prevention and reduction in Beijing in May 2015. (Picture: AFP)

China’s postponed Two Sessions, the country's most important annual political event, will start on May 22 this year, and for Beijing residents, that means no drone flying allowed. Beijing police announced that from May 20 to May 28, no organizations or individuals are allowed to conduct any flying activities for sports, entertainment or advertising.

The ban affects more than just drones. It targets what Chinese authorities call “low, slow and small aerial vehicles.” This refers to aerial equipment that flies under 1,000 meters (3,281 feet), slower than 200 kilometers per hour (124.3 miles per hour) and has a radar cross-section smaller than 2 square meters (21.5 square feet). Included in the 12 types of banned equipment are hot air balloons, paragliders and model airplanes.

China’s annual Two Sessions are when the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) meet to set annual growth targets and key economic agendas. It usually takes place in early March, but it was delayed for the first time in more than two decades this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Beijing has been issuing no-fly notices for the sessions at least since 2005.

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