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2015 China Victory Day Parade

Xi Jinping published the speech in this parade.

The 2015 China Victory Day parade was a military parade held along Changan Avenue, Beijing, on September 3, 2015 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day of the Second World War. The commemoration was the first high-profile military parade held to celebrate an occasion other than the National Day of the People's Republic of China. 12,000 troops of the People's Liberation Army participated in the parade, in addition to over 1,000 troops from 17 different countries. Paramount leader Xi Jinping inspected the troops. Premier Li Keqiang was the master of ceremonies.

Background

The 70th Anniversary of V-day parade marked the first time that China held a military parade other than the National Day, and the first to celebrate the end of WWII.[1] Since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, China held parades primarily on October 1, the country's national day. The most prominent renditions of the parade were held in 1959, 1984, 1999, and 2009, presided over respectively by then leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao. The 70th anniversary parade was also the first major parade since Xi Jinping took power as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in November 2012. The prevailing theme was to be "peace and victory".[1] Xi Jinping had attended the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade in May as the guest-of-honour of Russian president Vladimir Putin, and Xi returned the favour at this parade.[2]

Preparations and restrictions

National leadership placed considerable importance on being able to put the best foot forward and do away with distractions. Bloomberg reported that the central government once again intervened in the stock market to ensure stability ahead of the anniversary; there were traffic curfews and closures of public facilities including seven parks and some hospitals.[3] Line 1, Beijing Subway, which passes underneath Changan Avenue, was shut down; 256 bus-lines in Beijing were placed under tight transport restrictions from September 2–4.[3][4] On the day of the parade, hospitals restricted most of their activities beyond emergencies, the stock markets were closed.[3][5][6] Areas in the city centre were placed under martial law, and 850,000 "citizen guards" were deployed to ensure security within the city.[1] The city authorities sent in trained macaques and falcons to make sure the skies over central Beijing were free of birds that would put the flypast at risk. The trained macaque monkeys climbed trees and dismantled birds nests in advance of the parade. Hot air balloons and hang gliders were equally barred from the city; those residing along Changan Avenue were forbidden from opening their windows during the lock-down period.[7] Domestic satellite televisions were restricted from playing entertainment programs between September 1–5. China Central Television ceased the broadcasting of all entertainment programming, only playing films and TV series about the Second World War.[citation needed] Xi Jinping decreed the creation of two new public holidays targeted at Japan, the first being September 3, officially named The 70th anniversary of Chinese People’s Anti-Japanese War and the World Anti-Fascist War Victory Commemoration Day.[8] The second one was declared for December 13, marking the Japanese takeover of Nanjing, China's then capital under the Nationalists.[8] The CY Leung administration in Hong Kong argued for a holiday to facilitate participation in commemorative events, thus it tabled the "Special Holiday (3 September 2015) Ordinance" – designating the day as a one-off holiday – for debate in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo) in July. The act passed despite strong resistance and more than 90 amendments from one legislator.[9]

To reduce air pollution and ensure blue skies for the parade, half of Beijing's cars were barred from the streets and nearly 10,000 industrial firms in Beijing and in areas near and far – Hebei, Tianjin, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shandong and Henan – suspended or cut production starting on August 20 to cut down on emissions.[1][10] The factory shut-downs and road closures gave rise to rare instance of clean air, where PM2.5 measurements were below 50, and the lack of traffic jams, and these were welcomed by residents of the capital.[11] Observers noted that the umbrella, which became iconic in China-controlled Hong Kong during the protests in 2014, were nowhere to be seen despite the blazing heat although commonly used as a shield against the sun in China.[12]

Leaders in attendance

Chinese leaders

Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, President of the People's Republic China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, was the central figure of the day's events. Premier Li Keqiang was the master of ceremonies for the parade, breaking convention from its two previous renditions of the parade, which were both hosted by the Communist Party Secretary of Beijing (Jia Qinglin in 1999 and Liu Qi in 2009). General Song Puxuan, Commander of the Beijing Military Region, greeted Xi in front of Tiananmen at the start of the parade.

Atop Tiananmen, Xi Jinping wore a Mao suit, as was customary for leaders inspecting troops at military parades; the first lady Peng Liyuan wore a red dress.[13] The remaining political figures wore business suits. Xi delivered the keynote address at the parade with a surprise announcement of a plan to cut 300,000 personnel from the Chinese military.[14] The other members of the Politburo Standing Committee, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli, watched the parade on top of Tiananmen Gate.

Former Paramount leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao; former Premiers Li Peng, Zhu Rongji and Wen Jiabao; and other former senior leaders Li Ruihuan, Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Li Lanqing, Song Ping, Zeng Qinghong, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun, Luo Gan, and He Guoqiang, also attended the parade at Tiananmen. This meant that all former members of the Standing Committee who were in good standing with the party and alive at the time of the parade attended the event; they sat in strict protocol sequence to the right of the members of the incumbent Politburo Standing Committee.[15]

Hong Kong Special Administration Region chief executive Leung Chun-ying also led a 300-person group at the parade, and Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui also attended.[16]

International leaders

Current leaders and diplomats in attendance:

Leaders international organizations in attendance:

  • Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of United Nations
  • Director-General Irina Bokova of UNESCO
  • President Peter Maurer of ICRC

Former leaders in attendance:

  • Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany
  • Former Prime Minister Tony Blair of United Kingdom
  • Former President Joseph Estrada of the Philippines

Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada attended the parade, not as a representative of his country but as part of his duties as Mayor of Manila. Estrada cited the fact that Manila and Beijing were sister cities as his reason for attending the event.[17]

Criticisms

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, President Ma Ying-jeou and his Kuomintang objected to the event and what they see as the Communist Party usurping credit for leading the Chinese defence against Japan during World War II.[18][19] However, former Chairman of the Kuomintang Lien Chan also attended the parade, ostensibly in his personal capacity, sparking controversy at home.[18][19] Whilst Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the Taiwanese opposition, criticised Lian for failing to represent the views of the majority of Taiwanese, observers noted that Lien had considerable business interests on the mainland he sought to protect, likewise the Kuomintang also had interests on the mainland.[20][21][22] Hong Kong commentator Frank Ching added that Lian Chen's presence at the ceremony undermined the KMT, as China appeared to erase its role in defending China.[23]

Other pundits said that the main object of the parade was to rewrite history and elevate the Communist Party's position in ending the war.[6][9][23] However, other commentators suggested that although China showed her military might to the world, the main objective was to stir up nationalist sentiment inside the country to buttress the Communist Party's hold onto power.[1]

Kyodo News Agency cited a US department of State spokesman that United States objected the President of Sudan Bashir to attend the parade in the news conference held on August 31, 2015. He stated that China should consider about the international society's worry as a UN security concil member with inviting or assisting someone who is wanted under the document of warrant signed by ICC.[24]

Parade groups

Some 12,000 troops marched along Changan Avenue up to Tiananmen for inspection by Paramount leader Xi Jinping and the two living former leaders.[11] Each squad was led by at least one major general or lieutenant general in active service. 56 generals participated in total, including six lieutenant generals: Bai Jianjun, deputy commander of the Beijing Military Region, Tian Zhong, deputy commander of the PLA Navy, Chen Dong, deputy commander of the PLA Air Force, Wu Guohua, deputy commander of the Second Artillery Force, and Pan Changjie, deputy commander of the People's Armed Police. Zheng Qunliang, another deputy commander of the Air Force, commanded the fighter jet squad in air. This is the first time in PRC history that military parade squads were led by officers ranked as high as lieutenant general.[25]

The old warriors squad

Surviving soldiers from the Second World War joined the parade first time. They had fought under various commands, including the New Fourth Army, the National Revolutionary Army, and the Eighth Route Army, with most over 90 years old now. Some of the passed warriors' widows marched in place of their late husbands.[26] Besides Chinese soldiers, some surviving airmen of American Air Force who had fought alongside Chinese forces also joined the Old Warriors Squad. This group rode in open-top buses at the head of the parade.

Marching group

Colour party

The color guard consisted of 207 men and women, of the army, navy, and air force, escorting the national military colours. This marked the first occasion that female service personnel formed part of the honor guard during a national parade.

The anti-Japanese hero squads

The Communist Party of China's hero squads consisted of detachments that could trace their lineage to units that participated in the war, these included the "Langya Mountain Five Hero Squad" (狼牙山五壮士), "Battle of Pingxingguan Hero Squad",[27] and the "Hundred Regiments Offensive Hero Squad", representative detachments from each Chinese military region participated in the parade.

People's Armed Police

A detachment of the Beijing Division represented the People's Armed Police, the unit chosen had previously been a PLA one and can trace its lineage, through the 114th Division of the 38th Army, to regiments that fought during the war.

Foreign squads

Groups from 17 countries were sent to take part in the military parade.[28] Marching in alphabetical order these were:

Equipment group

Type 99 A2 Main Battle TanK

A group of the latest model of China's Type 99 main battle tank. The A2 marks the last iteration of the Type 99 as its replacement is nearing finalisation.

Amphibious squad

On parade where the infantry fighting vehicle (ZBD05) and fire support variants (ZTD05) of the People's Liberation Army Marine Corps ZBD2000 vehicle, with an ability to plane when waterborne these are the fastest amphibious armoured fighting vehicles in the world.

Mechanised infantry combat vehicle squad

ZBD-04 infantry fighting vehicle, troop carrying partner to the Type 99 MBT

Air-mobile infantry fighting vehicle squad

The ZBD-03 IFV is a light airmobile infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and the most mobile IFV of China's People's Liberation Army, was displayed for the first time in the parade.[29] Anti-tank missile and Light Assault Vehicles variants.[30] came afterward.

Anti-tank guided missile squad

Self-propelled Red Arrow 10 anti-tank guided missile vehicles, they have an anti-helicopter capability, with fire and forget or man-in-the-loop operation.

Self-propelled artillery squad

A group of 05A self-propelled guns, often nicknamed the "God of War" considering that they are the biggest guns in the Chinese military.[31][32]

Wheeled amphibious fire support vehicle
Wheeled fast light patrol/attack vehicle
Wheeled anti-terrorism attack vehicle
Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun squad
The missile squad

DF-21D, the world's first Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile, was on display in the parade. They came immediately after the DF-15 and DF-16 missiles.[33]

The DF-41, reportedly China's newest ICBM, was not shown in the parade.

Flypast

The H-6 and J-10 were flying in this parade.

Formation Flying in "70" formation

Fighter jet squad

The squad included 1 KJ-2000 and 8 J-10.[34] They were first displayed in 2009 China's National Day Parade.

China's newest early warning plane, the KJ-500, was displayed for the first time in this parade.[35]

The H-6K was debuted as well.[36]

Shenyang J-15, a carrier-based fighter jet, was also debuted in this parade.[37]

China's most advanced fighter jet, the J-20, was not shown in the parade.

Helicopter Squad

20 helicopters formed a the number "70" in the sky at 10:20 to mark the 70 years since the Victory over the Japanese.[38]

After the parade

The Parade began at 10:09 and ended at 11:40.[39] After the parade, Xi Jinping held a reception of the visiting international dignitaries.

China's Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yang Yujun said that the cuts to the size of the military would include personnel not trained for battle.

According to him opinion, China will emulate the command system of the United States by simplifying its management structure. China's one-star general Xu Guangyu also said that the China's People's Armed Police will be reformed similarly to the National Guard of the United States.

For historical reasons, China's military structure emphasizes the army and land forces. China plans to, like the United States, which keeps its army:navy:air force ratio at 4:3:3, focus more on other branches of the military. However, because China borders significantly more nations, the army ratio will not be as low as in the United States, with a new ratio of 2:1:1 planned. This means that of the 2 million force, there will be 1 million army personnel, 500,000 naval personnel and 500,000 air force personnel.[40]

References

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