China plans military parade

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2015-1-28 0:43:02

Event expected to warn Japan, maintain postwar order

An upcoming military parade in Beijing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of victory in the anti-fascist war is set to demonstrate China's military prowess and determination to deter Japan in an effort to maintain the postwar order, according to an article published on the WeChat account of the People's Daily.

It will be the first military parade carried out on a non-National Day occasion and the first such parade under Chinese President Xi Jinping since he took office in 2013.

Wen Wei Po, a Hong Hong-based newspaper, reported on Tuesday that the parade is scheduled for September 3, the anniversary of victory in China's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

The newspaper also reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Beijing and attend the military parade.

The news has not yet been officially announced by either government.

Without confirming the military parade, China's foreign ministry said Tuesday that China is planning on holding "commemoration events" like many other countries in the world to demonstrate its stance in safeguarding world peace and the postwar order.

"We hope all countries will take the chance to look back in history and learn from historic lessons, and jointly create a better future for humanity," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press meeting.

A media officer from China's Ministry of National Defense told the Global Times on Tuesday that "the ministry has no information regarding the parade at the moment." However, the officer noted that "if there is a military parade in September, the announcement will be jointly made by several ministries or a work committee in charge of the activity, since the event will be at the State level."

A Russian source, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Tuesday that Putin's schedule is yet to be officially confirmed.

At a meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia in May last year, Xi and Putin agreed to hold activities aimed at safeguarding the achievements of World War II and the postwar order.

The parade is expected to be the first such activity attended by foreign leaders, said an article in the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

It also demonstrates China's determination and military might to maintain the postwar order, especially from the provocations of Japanese right-wingers, it said. "Those who challenge [Asia's] postwar order pose a threat to China's core national interests and will be deemed enemies of China."

"Inviting foreign leaders to the parade could serve as a reminder to the rest of the world of China's role in World War II. It's a gesture of peace as well as an opportunity to show China's gratitude to the countries and the people that supported China through its war against invasion," Luo Yuan, a retired army major general and deputy secretary general of the China Military Science Society of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), told the Global Times.

Leaders from other Allied countries may also be invited, Luo noted.

Wang Shaopu, a professor from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said the event could send a signal to Japan not to stray away from the pacifist path.

"It could become a 'new normal' for China to continue commemorating the anniversary at an international level, following precedents from other countries," Wang told the Global Times.

In June 2014, some 20 world leaders attended the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the battle of Normandy in France. Russia also celebrates Victory Day on May 9 by conducting a military parade in commemoration of the defeat of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in World War II.

According to Wen Wei Po, the Beijing Military Command and the local People's Armed Police have already started parade training and the construction of a military parade village is near completion.

The newspaper also said the scale of the parade will not be as big as the one held in 2009.

China holds a grand military parade on its National Day about every 10 years. The last grand parade took place on October 1, 2009, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

"The parade sends a message to domestic Chinese. It's the first grand showcase of China's military since the anti-corruption campaign, especially after the fall of some high-level military officials. It helps to unite people under the current leadership and boost morale," Luo said.

Xu Caihou, the former vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, was expelled from the Party in 2014 after an investigation found he had taken a huge amount of bribes both personally and through his family.

The parade will show that the Party has strong control over the military and the country's stability will not be damaged, the People's Daily said.

The parade has also triggered online discussion as military enthusiasts hotly debate which weapons will be shown during the parade.

"It's unlikely that the latest high-tech weapons, such as J-31 fighter jets, will be on show as many are still in the research phase. Weapons already in military service, such as J-15 fighter jets, may make an appearance depending on the schedule of their training assignments," Yin Zhuo, a military expert from the Chinese Navy Advisory Committee for Informatization, told China Central Television on Saturday.

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