January 18, 2021

A parade of strength and pride

4 min read

EVERYTHING is set and China is ready to display its military strength at the 70th anniversary celebrations.

Tomorrow, all eyes will be on this next super power when the military parade march along the Changan Road and pass the Tiananmen Square in the capital city of Beijing.

This will be the 15th time a national day military parade will take place since the formation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

The last time such an event was held was 10 years ago.

“This is no ordinary parade, it is a parade of strength, confidence and pride, ” a senior editor of a local daily said proudly.

But I confessed that I barely have any knowledge on defence matters and am quite clueless on weapons.

“A country has to be stable and strong in economy so that its people can live in peace and prosperity.

“And in order to achieve this, one has to be strong in defence, ” explained the editor I had a chat with during an assignment recently.

I can understand how he feels. After all, China has for a long time felt bullied and ripped-off by the powerful countries in the past.

“This is also an important moment to instil confidence in the people, telling them that they no longer have to worry about the nightmare they have suffered, ” he said.

The scale of this military parade would be the largest so far, said Cai Zhijun, deputy head of the office of the leading group for the event.

“There will be 59 formations and a military band. More than 160 aircraft and 580 pieces of equipment will be showcased at the parade, ” he told a press conference recently.

A senior People’s Liberation Army officer told Xinhua that a selection of new weapons would be featured at the parade.

“All the weapons and equipment are domestic and in active service with a high level of information technology application and better strike accuracy, said another army officer.

A total of 188 military attaches from 97 countries stationed in China have been invited to watch the parade.

Chinese National Defence Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said at the country’s first military parade 70 years ago, they were short of aircraft.

“We only had 17 then. Premier Zhou (Enlai) said not enough aircraft, then we fly two times. And now, we have become strong and our aircraft no longer need to fly two rounds. We are relieved to tell the martyrs that such peace and prosperous era is what you all had wished to see, ” he said.

Wu also refuted allegations of China flexing its muscles at the parade.

“Over the last decades, China has made great contributions to the world. The stronger the country is, the greater constructive role we will play in keeping world peace, ” he added.

A total of 15,000 military personnel, aged between 20 and 70, will be taking part in the parade. They are the best of the best, shortlisted after rounds of screening.

I was lucky enough to visit an army camp and see the training session of the foot formations, comprising members from the guards of honour, soldiers, navy, air force servicewomen, reserve forces, peacekeepers and other divisions.

The male personnel have a height between 1.75m and 1.9m while the females are between 1.63m and 1.75m.

One of them is Guo Fengtong, 29. “It is a great honour to be able to participate in the event. For this, we trained extra hard with one goal and hope we are able to show our best at the national day parade, ” he said.

A member of the guards of honour division, Guo has pledged his service to the armed forces for 14 years. And his most unforgettable duty took place at the Beijing Olympics 2008.

“I was part of the flag detail to raise the Five-Star Red Flag at the opening ceremony but I had a blister and infection on my foot 12 days before the event.

“I was quite depressed then because I had trained for so long for the moment and worried that the whole process would be affected by me. Luckily I managed to recover and we completed our task perfectly, ” he added.

Ma Yanfei, 23, said she has been dreaming of becoming a guard of honour after seeing them on duty.

“They appeared very smart, strong and brave to me. So, when I was recruited into the armed forces seven years ago, I applied to join the division.

“I feel proud because we carry the image of the force as well as the country, ” she added.

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