BEIJING - China has kicked off its largest display of military force with a parade along its main Chang’an Avenue as the nation celebrates 70 years of Communist rule.
Under hazy skies on Tuesday (Oct 1) morning, President Xi Jinping, in a Mao suit and flanked by his two precedessors, former presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, appeared on the balcony of the Forbidden Palace overlooking Tiananmen Square.
Addressing the nation, President Xi spoke of how Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong had stood in the same spot 70 years ago and declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China, paving the way for the country to embark on the path of the “great rejuvenation” of China.
“No power can shake the status of our great motherland, no force can stop the progress of the Chinese people and nation,” he said, to cheers from the thousands of flag-waving Chinese that had gathered at Tiananmen Square.
Mr Xi urged loyalty to the Communist Party’s leadership and again vowed that Beijing will abide by the “one country, two systems” model to ensure Hong Kong and Macau’s continued prosperity, as well as promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.
“Yesterday’s China has been written into the history books. Today’s China is being created by more than 1 billion people. Tomorrow’s China will be even better,” he said, urging unity and the fulfilment of the two centennial goals.
The Chinese leader had vowed to restore the country to greatness – by making China a “moderately prosperous society” by 2021, and for it to become a “fully developed, rich and powerful nation” by 2049.
These two centennial goals – 2021 marks 100 years since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and 2049, the centenary of the founding of PRC – have been Mr Xi’s overarching vision since he took power in 2012.
The celebrations on Tuesday culminate in a gala show in the evening complete with fireworks.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.