For the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing held a nearly three-hour-long parade. The South China Morning Post has a chronological timeline of China’s National Day parade, as it happened.
The festivities began with an eight-minute address by Xi Jinping. Per Xinhua:
No force can ever undermine China’s status, or stop the Chinese people and nation from marching forward, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday, China’s National Day…
“Seventy years ago on this day, Comrade Mao Zedong solemnly declared here to the world that the PRC was founded and the Chinese people had stood up,” Xi said on Tian’anmen Rostrum.
“This great event completely reversed China’s miserable fate born from poverty and weakness and being bullied and humiliated over more than 100 years since the advent of modern times,” Xi said, adding that the Chinese nation has since then embarked on the path of realizing national rejuvenation.
You can click here to read a full transcript of Xi’s short National Day address (in Chinese).
With its 70th anniversary, the P.R.C. has reached the average age of China’s past dynasties, writes the LA Review of Books: China Channel — though, of course, there was a huge variance in their longevity, “from the Heng Chu dynasty (403–404), which lasted for less than a year, to the Tang (618–907), which ruled China for 289 years.”
“What Xi Jinping hasn’t learned from China’s emperors” is the title of a piece in the New York Times by historian James Millward, who argues that Xi has turned the country away from “the Qing tradition with flexible approaches to diversity and sovereignty” in places like Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and makes the country’s future more uncertain as a result.
Though Xi made no direct mention of other countries or external threats to China in his speech, he did urge continuation of the policy direction of “peaceful reunification” and “One Country, Two Systems” (和平统一、一国两制 hépíng tǒngyī, yīguó liǎngzhì), with the aim of protecting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macau, and the goal to “unite all of China’s children” (团结全体中华儿女 tuánjié quántǐ zhōnghuá érnǚ), including those across the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan rejected the idea: “The Chinese communist authorities must accept the international reality that Taiwan has never been part of the People’s Republic since its formation…[the] one country, two systems proposal for managing cross-strait relations is not applicable in Taiwan and will never be accepted by the Taiwanese people,” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement, per the SCMP.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong:
The military parade
After Xi’s short address, a massive military parade proceeded.
“Thousands of servicemen and women goose-stepped through the square, sophisticated tanks and armoured vehicles rumbled and up-to-date fighters flew by. The historic parade consisted of 15,000 personnel, 580 pieces of armament and more than 160 aircraft in 15 foot formations, 32 armament formations and 12 echelons,” per Xinhua.
Two pieces of military hardware caught the most attention:
- The Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) hypersonic missile (pictured above), which Reuters says “theoretically can maneuver sharply at many times the speed of sound, making it extremely difficult to counter.”
- The DF-17 ballistic missile-launched hypersonic glide-vehicle, which nuclear weapons specialist Hans M. Kristensen called the “biggest surprise at the parade” in a detailed review of the military assets showcased.
“I have experienced the power of Chinese military weaponry. My horizons have been greatly expanded,” one 12-year-old student told Reuters, exemplifying the patriotic zeal of the citizens selected to personally witness the military display.
Finally, there was a celebration, with song and dance and fireworks:
Here are two clips from CCTV’s primetime broadcast:
More on National Day in Beijing
- China celebrates 70 years of People’s Republic – in pictures / Guardian
- In Pictures: China rolls out extravagant, colourful and…weird floats to mark National Day / Hong Kong Free Press
- A dozen hand-picked foreigners join China’s parade of soldiers and tanks / Reuters
- Foreigners filmed by state TV praising China ahead of anniversary / Guardian
- The People’s Republic of China was born in chains / by Frank Dikötter in Foreign Policy (porous paywall)
- China’s youth are caught in the cult of nationalism / by Vicky Xiuzhong Xu in Foreign Policy (porous paywall)
- Opinion: After 70 years, China’s Communist Party still relies on propaganda and repression / by Yaqiu Wang in LA Times