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China celebrates 70 years of communist regime with military parade; see images

by Ace Damon
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The Chinese Communist Party marked the 70th anniversary of its rule on Tuesday with a grand narrative about its past and its future. Leader Xi Jinping presided over a huge parade in which he introduced new military technologies and declared that “no force” could prevent China from rising.

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Although the parade was held to mark a domestic event – Mao Zedong’s communist triumph over nationalist forces and the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 – he had a clear international message.

The display of new military technologies, including an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting anywhere in the United States, and challenging rhetoric were Xi’s response to external pressures.

“There is no force that can shake the foundations of this great nation. No force can stop the Chinese people and the Chinese national from moving forward,” Xi said Tuesday morning in a speech delivered at Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Square), in the heart of Beijing, where Mao appeared seven decades ago.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping (7th E) Participates in a Military Parade with Former Presidents Hu Jintao (6th E) and Jiang Zemin (8th E) | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • JL-8 Jets | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • President Xi Jinping at the military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese troops | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese troops | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Liaoning Province float with a giant winged robot | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • HY-6 aircraft and two J-10 fighters fly over Beijing | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese troops | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicles | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Guests watch the parade | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicles | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese soldiers during parade | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese soldiers during parade | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese soldiers during parade | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews troops from a car during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on October 1, 2019, to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. (Photo by Greg BAKER / AFP)
  • The formation of military airplanes, one KJ-2000 airborne early warning and control aircraft and eight J-10 multirole fighter jets, fly over Beijing during a military parade at Tiananmen Square on October 1, 2019, to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP)
  • Chinese soldiers during parade | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese soldiers during parade | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese troops | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese troops | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Chinese troops | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military helicopter formation flies over Beijing during parade | Photo: WANG ZHAO / AFP
  • Military drone is presented | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military drone is presented | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • DF-17 Missile | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicles carrying missiles | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicles carrying air-to-air missiles HHQ-9B | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicles carrying missiles | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicles with intercontinental ballistic missiles DF-31AG | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicles carrying ground attack missiles DF-100 | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • People’s Liberation Army Air Force Aircraft | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicles carrying intercontinental ballistic missiles DF-5B | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicles | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicles | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military drone is presented | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Military vehicle carrying a supersonic reconnaissance drone WZ-8 | Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP
  • Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP

Hong Kong

With counter-demonstrations taking place in Hong Kong, where a large proportion of the population protested against China’s invading influence, Xi also sent a message to the citizens there.

“Moving forward, we must remain committed to the strategy of peaceful reunification of ‘one country, two systems.’ We will maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau, “said Xi, referring to the principle that Hong Kong and Macau have a degree of autonomy from Beijing.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, who was criticized by protesters for approaching Beijing, could be seen with Chinese officials during the parade.

Xi also promised to “unite the whole country and continue fighting for complete unification,” a reference to his desire to bring Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a separatist state, back in control of the continent.

Fire power

Xi, who increasingly invokes Mao, again called for the continuation of the revolutionary “struggle” that led the Communists to seize power in 1949.

“We must continue to consolidate and develop the People’s Republic and continue our struggle to reach the two-year goal and realize China’s dream of national rejuvenation,” he said.

Their words were followed by a flamboyant display of military firepower, with tanks rolling down the main avenue in Tiananmen Square – the same route they followed 30 years earlier to crush pro-democracy demonstrations.

But neither these events nor the Mao-era brutalities, which included a famine resulting from the disastrous agricultural policy and the purges and violence of the Cultural Revolution, were mentioned on Tuesday.

Instead, the Communist Party and its People’s Liberation Army exhibited an impressive military firepower. About 40% of the armaments were first publicly displayed, according to comments from state media.

One of the weapons displayed was the DF-41, a three-stage solid-fuel missile capable of carrying up to 10 independent-target nuclear warheads and has a range of about 18,500 km, placing the entire United States within reach.

The DF-17, a short to medium range missile that can launch a hypersonic glider vehicle, was also on display. Analysts say the missile appears to be capable of exceeding the speed of sound and penetrating US missile shields, and has a re-entry maneuverable vehicle so it can change targets during flight.

Also featured were several new drones, including the Sharp Sword, an attack drone that can carry missiles or laser guided bombs and is expected to go into service before the end of the year.

Domestic Policy Challenges

The parade was “flashy” and showed “unity and optimism,” said Adam Ni, a Chinese researcher at Macquarie University in Australia. “But I think that underlying this is a host of challenges and tensions, both within China and from outside sources, that are setting the stage for possible dramatic changes.”

Despite Xi’s confident stance, his leadership is under intense pressure from inside and outside the country.

Protesters in Hong Kong 17 weeks ago show that they do not share Xi’s “Chinese dream” of “realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” and are pushing for democracy and greater autonomy.

Separately, China’s protracted trade war with the United States continues, with little expectation regarding Vice Premier Liu He’s trip to Washington next week for another round of talks that will precipitate a breakthrough.

At home, the economy is slowing tangibly, with growth at its lowest level in more than a generation.

To reinforce his leadership, Xi repeatedly called on Mao and urged the Chinese people to remain faithful to the party’s “original mission.”

Xi wants to appear as heir to the “fight” that Mao started and disregard the leaders who stepped in among them, analysts say. This includes Deng Xiaoping, the economic visionary responsible for China’s amazing transformation in the 1980s and 1990s.

“He wants to draw a straight line between Mao and him,” Ni said. “He means that the revolutionary establishment of the People’s Republic of China is now on the threshold of national rejuvenation. It is a very simplified story.”

In 2017, Xi rose to the same level as Mao and Deng in the Chinese communist pantheon, with his name and the phrase “Xi Jinping Thought” enshrined in the constitution.

For the past few weeks, Xi has been retracing Mao’s footsteps and repeatedly invoking the Red Army Long March and other elements of Communist Party folklore in China.

The state news agency Xinhua published a long article on Xi’s leadership on Monday, which explicitly established a connection between the current leader and Mao’s appearance on Tiananmen Square after the defeat of the nationalists.

“It was there on October 1, 1949 that Mao Zedong announced the birth of New China. Over the course of seven decades, the socialist country has opened an extraordinary path from a ‘poor and blank’ state to an important country on the world stage. “said the article published by Xinhua on Monday.

“Xi, the first Chinese leader born after 1949, is in charge of a new era, guiding the country through wind and waves for a better future,” the agency said.

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