PRC celebrates 70th anniversary with display of strength and unity
China showcased military strength and national unity as it celebrated 70 years of development since the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) with spectacular National Day celebrations in Beijing on Tuesday.
As the PRC entered its eighth decade, hundreds of millions of people in the country and beyond on Tuesday watched troops, military hardware and representatives of all corners of the nation parade through Tian'anmen Square with helicopters and jets soaring in formation overhead.
"Seventy years ago on this day, Comrade Mao Zedong solemnly declared here to the world that the People's Republic of China was founded and the Chinese people had stood up," President Xi Jinping said from the Tian'anmen rostrum overlooking the square, adding that since October 1, 1949, China has been united as one and embarked on the path of national rejuvenation.
"No force can ever shake the status of China, or stop the Chinese people and nation from marching forward," stressed the Chinese president.
The parades, with Chinese leaders watching on, featured state-of-the-art weaponry, dramatic formations and myriad symbols celebrating the country's development.
Unity and progress
The morning of celebrations on Tian'anmen Square began with a 70-gun salute fired from 56 cannons, representing China's 56 ethnic groups, a symbol of unity that threaded through the celebrations and featured prominently in the remarks delivered by President Xi.
The president combined a review of China's achievements over the past 70 years with an emphasis on the country's unity and continued prosperity in an eight-minute speech.
"Chinese people of all ethnic groups have made great achievements that amaze the world over the past seven decades through concerted efforts and arduous struggle," Xi declared.
"On our journey forward, we must uphold the leadership of the Communist Party of China, maintain the principal status of people, and stay on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics."
The president, who thanked other countries for their help and contributions to China's development since 1949, stressed that China would uphold the principles of the "One Country, Two Systems" mechanism and continue its journey towards "complete reunification."
"On our journey forward, we must uphold the principles of 'Peaceful Reunification' and 'One Country, Two Systems,' maintain lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao, promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, unite all Chinese sons and daughters, and continue to strive for the motherland's complete reunification."
Troops, tanks and missiles
The military parade, which followed Xi's review of the thousands of troops lined along Chang'an Avenue, featured dramatic air and foot formations from different branches of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) as well as a broad display of military hardware.
"The Chinese People's Liberation Army and Chinese People's Armed Police Force should always preserve their nature, purpose and character as the forces of the people, resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and firmly uphold world peace," Xi said, moments before helicopters flew in formation high above the square to create a giant "70" in the sky and get the parade underway.
A mass parade – with around 100,000 participants – then colorfully told China's story from the process of the PRC's founding through to the present day, highlighting the country's growth from early years of impoverishment to its development into the world's second-largest economy.
The strengthening of the rule of law, ethnic unity, and crackdown on corruption were among the domestic achievements showcased, alongside economic development, rural revitalization and poverty eradication.
Xi's call for building a community with a shared future for mankind and his Belt and Road Initiative were celebrated together with scientific breakthroughs, tech developments and advances in environmental protection.
The National Day parade ended in dramatic style, with 5,000 people celebrating the formation of the PRC in 1949 and 70,000 pigeons and balloons released into the Beijing sky.