China Holds Massive ‘Army Day’ Military Parade

Chinese 'Army Day' Parade. Image Source: Reuters
Chinese 'Army Day' Parade. Image Source: Reuters

China’s Ministry of National Defense celebrated the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Sunday. The first ever ‘Chinese Army Day’ commemorated the Communist Party’s formation in 1927 under Chairman Mao.

Video Source: Metro (UK)

China’s president and commander-in-chief of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, supervised the enormous military parade held at the desert Zhurihe military training base in Inner Mongolia Province — 400km north-west of Beijing. The army showcased 12,000 of its 2.3 million military service personnel surrounded by type-99 battle tanks, attack helicopters, J-20 and J-15 stealth fighter jets, H-6K bombers and even nuclear missiles. Chinese state media likened the army base — the largest in Asia — to the US Fort Irwin National Training Center in California’s Mojave desert.

To conclude proceedings China presented its new Dongfeng-31AG intercontinental ballistic missile, which can travel up to 11,000km and is capable of reaching the United States.

It’s not the first time China has held public military parades. However, this latest exhibition is unprecedented in scale, with a clear overarching theme of “unswerving” loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party. It will send out a message of Xi’s tight control of the military ahead of a major CCP summit in fall, which occurs only twice a decade and is likely to include a committee reshuffle.

Defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told journalists that the parade “fully demonstrates that soldiers firmly support, and are loyal and respectful of the Chinese Communist party’s central committee, with comrade Xi as its core.”

After personally inspecting troops, a camouflaged President Xi announced that the armed forces have the confidence and capability to drive China’s ascendancy to a world power.

“All comrades, commanders and soldiers of the PLA: You must unswervingly follow the absolute leadership of the Communist party of China, listen to the directions set by the party and follow its command. Wherever the party points, you shall march.”

Chinese 'Army Day' Parade. Image Source: Associated Press

Chinese ‘Army Day’ Parade. Image Source: Associated Press

China’s Xinhua and other state-controlled media reported that the parade displayed the strength of the modern Chinese military, which “contributes to safeguarding national security and world peace”. Foreign reporters were not permitted to attend.

The Communist Party has long claimed that its military expansion is purely for peaceful means and national defense. However, tensions still exist with Taiwan and several Southeast Asian nations over China’s claim to most of the South China Sea, as well as its construction of artificial military islands across the region. The desert army base also hosts full-size mock targets including Taiwan’s presidential palace.

Relations between China and the United States are still fraught. Last Friday, North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile which Pyongyang claimed was capable of reaching the US mainland. President Trump publicly expressed his frustration with China for not pressuring Kim Jong-un to cease nuclear research and missile programs.

Tucker J.

Tucker is a foreign correspondent and media analyst for Not Liberal.

About the Author

Tucker J.
Tucker J.
Tucker is a foreign correspondent and media analyst for Not Liberal.

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