Massive Parade Marks China's 60th Birthday

Huge festivities combine modern power with Communist kitsch
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2009 7:26 AM CDT
Women members of the militia, a civilian reserve force under China's military, march past Tiananmen Square during a military parade marking China's 60th anniversary in Beijing, Thursday Oct. 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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(Newser) – A massive procession of tanks, troops, and nuclear missile launchers paraded through Beijing today, 60 years after Mao Zedong stood in Tiananmen Square and proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China. The rigorously choreographed procession combined old-school Communist imagery—including tens of thousands of children flipping colored cards to create slogans like "Loyalty to the party"—with modern touches like a model of the Bird's Nest Olympic stadium and a float promoting environmentalism. Only 30,000 spectators were allowed to attend; Beijingers were told to watch on TV instead.

President Hu Jintao, swapping his normal Western suit for a Mao-style black tunic, boarded an open-top limousine to inspect the troops, who shouted "Serve the people!" as he passed. Television commentators offered party-friendly analysis to hundreds of millions of viewers. At one point an announcer proclaimed that Mao Zedong Thought has been "proven correct," while another glossed over unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang: "Look at all our ethnic groups holding hands and dancing together! They are a moving picture of harmonious unity."