Xi Jinping led a centennial celebration on Thursday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, but amid the jubilation in Beijing came a warning. "The Chinese people will never allow foreign forces to bully, oppress, or enslave us," he told a crowd of 70,000, reports the New York Times, which notes he sported a Mao Zedong-style suit. "Whoever nurses delusions of doing that will crack their heads and spill blood on the Great Wall of steel built from the flesh and blood of 1.4 billion Chinese people." Xi didn't mention the United States specifically, but his speech "clearly hinted" at it and wouldn't be lost on the Chinese people, an ex-editor of a Communist Party newspaper said. "We'll never accept insufferably arrogant lecturing from those 'master teachers!'" Xi said to cheers from his flag-waving audience.
Xi's hourlong speech, which came ahead of his bid next year to win a third five-year term as the nation's leader, was accompanied by much pageantry, including military jets flying overhead, cannons firing, and songs of patriotism, notes the BBC. A key point in his remarks was the message that China and the Communist Party are one, and that the country should unify behind both. "Without the Communist Party, there will be no new China," Xi noted, adding that China's rise is a "historic inevitability," per CNN. Observers note the speech signaled that Xi and the party plan to be in charge for the long haul. "This was not a speech by a leader who is planning on stepping down from power anytime soon," Jude Blanchette of the Center for Strategic and International Studies tells the Times. "The extraordinary pomp and circumstance was designed to say: The Chinese Communist Party is strong, unified, and it isn't going anywhere." (Read more China stories.)