China celebrates 60th National Day, displays military might

China celebrates 60th National Day, displays military might

Affirming his resolve to continue the reform and opening up process to ensure development of the world's third largest economy, Hu, also General Secretary of ruling CPC, said that China faced the future "standing tall and firm in the East." He said the past 60 years have proved that only "socialism can save China," implying that the CPC intended to maintain its firm hold on power. "The development and progress of China has fully demonstrated that nothing but socialism can save China and no other option but opening up can develop socialism," Hu said from the historic Tiananmen rostrum from where Mao had proclaimed the establishment of the Peoples Republic in 1949.

Flexing its muscle, Chinese military showcased its arrival as a world power by putting on display for the first time modern warfare equipment including air early warning and control (AEWC) aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). At the parade, held amidst tightest-ever security, Hu, dressed in a dark Mao tunic instead of the Western suit he usually wears, said the Chinese people were "full of confidence" in the rejuvenation of their nation and that "all ethnic groups can be proud of the development and progress of our great motherland".

Hu, who, appeared on the Tiananmen rostrum along with his predecessor Jiang Zemin, Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior leaders of the Communist Party to witness the grand extravaganza, held once in a decade, said China's complete "re-unification" was the "common aspiration" of the nation. Though the Chinese leaders have said that military power was purely defensive in nature, Hu said Beijing would strive for the "re-unification" of China.

"We will unswervingly uphold the principles of peaceful reunification and one country two systems to maintain long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao and push forward the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait," he said. Inspecting the military parade that highlighted China's increasing self-sufficiency in defence, Hu said his country would continue its foreign policy of peaceful diplomacy and co-existence.

Hu, riding in a black open-roof 'Red Flag' limousine, passed by tens of thousands of soldiers and militia and ranks of camouflaged tanks and missiles. "Greetings, comrades," Hu said as he saluted the troops. "Greetings, leader," the soldiers responded. Hu's inspection of the troops was the first in a decade. The splendid display of military might was accompanied by a mass pageant of civilian performances, made up of 36 formations and six performing groups involving about 200,000 citizens.

They were complemented by 60 simulated floats, and a background performance by 80,000 school students. The parade began with 60 canon shots fired to mark the 60 years, and 56 regiments marched on the ground and in the air, symbolising the 56 ethnic groups of the country. Fourteen of the regiments marched through the Changan Avenue on foot, 30 in wheeled transport and 12 took to the air.

The air force also held an impressive fly past over the Tiananmen Square. This time the fly past consisted of 151 aircraft like AEWC aircraft, J-11 fighters, J-10 fighter jets, Kongjing-2000 and armed helicopters flew over the Square, up from 132 aircraft in the last military parade in 1999. China was proclaimed a People's Republic on October 1, 1949 by 'Chairman' Mao Zedong after a lengthy battle against Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang (KMT) in the Chinese Civil War.

For 30 years after its formation, it continued to follow strict socialist policies and remained closed to the outside world, leaving the country economically backward. However, the economic reforms pursued by late leader Deng Xiaoping in 1978 brought rapid development and changed the face of China, making it an economic powerhouse. China is today the world's fastest growing economy and constitutes 6.4 per cent of the total economic output of the world, up from the 1.6 per cent in the pre-reform era.
China's gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed USD 3.86 trillion in 2008, 77 times more than in 1952.