China's 70th National Day: No force can stop country's progress, says Xi Jinping

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Beijing held a massive military parade on Tuesday to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule, headlined by President Xi Jinping.
A float with a giant portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping passes by Tiananmen Square. PHOTO: AFP
Chinese troops march past Tiananmen Square during a military parade during China's 70th anniversary celebrations in Beijing, on Oct 1, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS
Chinese troops on tanks roll past Tiananmen Square during the military parade. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Performers waving the flags of China, Hong Kong and Macau during the military parade. PHOTO: REUTERS
Soldiers marching on Tiananmen Square during a rehearsal before a military parade taking place as part of China's 70th anniversary celebrations, on Oct 1, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS
Chinese President Xi Jinping stands in a vehicle as he prepares to review troops at the military parade at Tiananmen Square. PHOTO: AFP
DF-17 hypersonic ballistic missiles on display during the military parade on Tiananmen Square. ST PHOTO: DANSON CHEONG
DF-26 missiles, informally known as the Guam killer, on display during the military parade.
A Chinese national flag being raised during the military parade at Tiananmen Square. PHOTO: AFP
Military helicopters fly in the formation of number 70 during the military parade. PHOTO: REUTERS
Soldiers in front of a sign marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China before the military parade at Tiananmen Square. PHOTO: REUTERS
Visitors with Chinese flags sing as they wait for the military parade to begin. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Military vehicles carrying DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles going past Tiananmen Square. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - China held its largest display of military force with a parade along its main Chang'an Avenue as the nation celebrated 70 years of communist rule.

Under hazy skies on Tuesday morning (Oct 1), President Xi Jinping, in a Mao suit and flanked by his two precedessors, former presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, appeared on Tiananmen, or Gate of Heavenly Peace.

Addressing the nation, President Xi spoke of how Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong had stood in the same spot 70 years ago and declared the founding of the People's Republic of China, paving the way for the country to embark on the path of the "great rejuvenation" of China.

"No power can shake the status of our great motherland, no force can stop the progress of the Chinese people and nation," he said, to cheers from the thousands of flag-waving Chinese who had gathered at Tiananmen Square.

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Mr Xi urged loyalty to the Communist Party's leadership and again vowed that Beijing will abide by the "one country, two systems" model to ensure Hong Kong and Macau's continued prosperity, as well as promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

"Yesterday's China has been written into the history books. Today's China is being created by more than one billion people. Tomorrow's China will be even better," he said, urging unity and the fulfilment of the two centennial goals.

The Chinese leader had vowed to restore the country to greatness - by making China a "moderately prosperous society" by 2021, and for it to become a "fully developed, rich and powerful nation" by 2049.

These two centennial goals - 2021 marks 100 years since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and 2049, the centenary of the founding of PRC - have been Mr Xi's overarching vision since he took power in 2012.

The celebrations on Tuesday culminate in a gala show in the evening complete with fireworks.

The display of China's military might in the morning was a picture of pride for the Chinese audience.

"I had taken taken part in one of the dress rehearsals for the parade and even then it was a stirring sight to see the Chinese military. Today's atmosphere feels even better," said civil servant Li Yidong, 27, adding that the showcase "is also a window to show the world China's national power".

Mr Li Xuguang, 29, who works in the security industry, said he was already very excited when planes flew past his home during the parade in 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

"Watching them today is even better," said Mr Li.

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