China Celebrates 60 Years of Communist Rule
The parade is finished and the reviews are in. From the New York Times:
The celebration of the founding of the People’s Republic of China was immense, powerful and flawless, down to the crystalline skies which, just a day earlier, had been laden with smog.
In all that, it was a fitting analogy for how China’s Communist Party leaders wanted their citizens and the world to regard them — and, perhaps, how they may be feeling themselves these days. The last such parade, in 1999, was of interest mainly to foreign military analysts and China hands. This time, the world’s news outlets reported raptly on the significance of every detail, and China’s state-run television network streamed video coverage over the Internet, in English and other languages, to viewers worldwide.
Beyond that, however, the Chinese made few concessions to their global audience. The 60th celebration was slightly kitschy and indisputably retro, a carbon copy of the prior once-a-decade celebrations.
Mr Hu said socialism had saved China, and thanked the PLA and the People’s Armed Police Force, the guarantors of Communist rule, for safeguarding national security.
A new, modern China was standing up and facing the world, he said, but this ceremony felt as if it came from another era – Mr Hu rode in a vintage Red Flag limousine wearing a Chairman Mao-style tunic.
Most people in the capital could only watch the elaborate ceremony for the founding of the People’s Republic unfold on national television, as tight security excluded ordinary people from getting near the parade route through Tiananmen Square.
Precisely choreographed, the two-and-half-hour event hewed closely to tradition. President Hu Jintao, in a Mao jacket instead of a business suit, rode in an open-top Red Flag limousine to review the thousands of troops. A parade of kitschy floats, flanked by more than 100,000 people, lauded the communist revolution and the Beijing Olympics.
A female militia in red miniskirts and shiny white boots added a jolt of color to the sea of fatigues — and showcased efforts by the armed forces to be more inclusive.
Even the weather cooperated, after the government’s aggressive cloud-seeding produced overnight showers to disperse smog and bring in blue skies.