Last week, China’s Communist Party marked 70 years in power with a military parade. The event showcased the country’s global goals—while at the same time emphasizing problems in the world’s second-largest global economy.
The 70th anniversary commemorated the October 1, 1949, founding of the People’s Republic of China. The event included 15,000 troops, more than 160 aircraft, and 580 pieces of military equipment. A military parade featured trucks carrying nuclear missiles designed to evade U.S. defenses, a supersonic attack drone, and other products. The pageant rolled through Beijing as soldiers marched past President Xi Jinping and other leaders on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Among those attending was Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Her leadership during the crisis has made her unpopular with many protesters.
The anniversary display highlights the Chinese government’s ambition for influence to match its global status. China’s goals include displacing the United States as the Pacific region’s leading power as well as enforcing claims to Taiwan, the South China Sea, and other disputed territories.
According to Henry Boyd, a military analyst in London, the intended message is “that China [is] to be a taken seriously.”
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, pro-democracy protesters fought with police, hoping to embarrass the party during the high-profile political event. The protests illustrate the tensions between the one-party dictatorship and a rapidly developing society. Sadly, police shot one teenage protestor.
“Today we are out to tell the Communist Party that Hong Kong people have nothing to celebrate,” says activist Lee Cheuk-yan. “We are mourning that in 70 years of Communist Party rule, the democratic rights of people in Hong Kong and China are being denied.” As protesters hoped, the chaos in Hong Kong contrasted with anniversary festivities in Beijing.
Despite the interruptions, President Xi insists, “No force can stop the progress of the Chinese people.”
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will. — Proverbs 21:1
(Army vehicles roll during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)