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China to celebrate 70th anniversary with massive military parade


Press Trust of India Beijing
China is all set to celebrate its 70th anniversary of Communist rule on Tuesday with a massive military parade, displaying its most advanced weapons including long range nuclear missiles.
The official ceremonies began on Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping paying his respects to the founder of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) Mao Zedong's embalmed body in Beijing.
Xi, accompanied by six other members of the CPC's Standing Committee, visited Mao's mausoleum located in the heart of the power centre, the Tiananmen Square.
They bowed three time in front of the former chairman's statue.
Later, Xi paid respects to the remains of Mao, whose ideological legacy was on the decline since his successor Deng Xiaoping opened up the party and the economy, leading to massive growth and China becoming the second largest economy in the world.
Xi, regarded as the most powerful leader especially after last year's constitutional amendment removing the two-year term system in China, would take salute at the parade on Tuesday.
Significantly, China, which keeps its top weapons under the blanket of secrecy, has decided to hold its largest military parade in which the official media reported that latest nuclear and hypersonic missiles besides stealth aircraft would be on display.
China's muscle-flexing comes at a time when the country is facing serious political and economic challenges.
The parade is being held in the shadow of unending pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, exposing the CPC's inability to address festering issues.
There is concern among officials that Hong Kong pro-democracy protests planned for Tuesday could grab the global headlines overshadowing the military parade in Beijing.
While China is grappling with its economic slowdown, it is also waging a grim trade war with the US.
US President Donald Trump started the trade war in June last year, demanding China to reduce massive trade deficit which last year climbed to over USD 539 billion.
Both the countries have slapped additional tariffs on each other's export goods.
The official Xinhua news agency reported that some advanced weapons will debut in the military parade.
The military parade is expected to showcase China's achievements in building its national defence and armed forces in the past 70 years and reflect on the outcomes of the reforms of the people's armed forces, Deputy Head of the leading group for the military parade, Cai Zhijun, told the media here.
Military analysts said the show of nuclear strength was intended to demonstrate China's enhanced deterrence and second strike capability, especially to the United States.
The parade is being held under unprecedented security in Beijing. Most of the main thoroughfares, specially the Chang'an Avenue in which the parade will be held have been closed, well ahead of time. Residents have been ordered to stay at home.
Beijing's two international airports are also expected to be closed for five-and-a-half hours from 8.30 am on Tuesday.

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First Published: Sep 30 2019 | 6:30 PM IST

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