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Xinhua News

Xinhua News

About 200,000 soldiers and civilians assembled in Tiananmen Square on October 1 for a parade and performance in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.  Just as we saw in the fantastic Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics, the performances were spectacular with incredible precision and discipline.  The Chinese really know how to put on a show!

The presentation was all about China’s history since 1949, when Mao Zedong led the revolution that established the People’s Republic of China.  Mao was honored for lifting China from a rural, impoverished economy to an industrial giant.  Of course, the celebration also skipped over a few details like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution where 20-50 million people (depends on the source) starved to death because of Mao’s agricultural strategies.

This event was less about the rest of the world and more about a show of Communist Party strength within China.  It is very important for the Party to show power, control and prosperity.  This is the way the government is able to control and stabilize the population and avoids any confrontation with protesters. The message is that all citizens should be grateful and honored that the Communist Party has brought them so much prosperity, so quickly.

There were a few displays that the world could interpret as China’s show of economic might.  For example, President Hu Jintao rode in a China-made limo.  Of course, the profitable auto industry in China is expanding very fast to satisfy the high demand within China.

And China now has the largest military in the world and a military budget that grows 14% per year. The show of force with enormous battalions of men and women, (including the all-women fighter pilots who flew overhead) was quite effective and a little scary.

The October 1 Anniversary show leaves me in awe of the long journey China has traveled since 1949 and a little apprehensive about China’s mighty future.

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