Millions of people, including us at Shanghaiist, tuned into CCTV’s livefeed of the grand events at Tiananmen Square earlier today. News feeds are already overflowing with images of PLA tanks, planes and (no longer secret) missiles, so instead here’s a brief overview of pre-parade happenings on state media.
The whole shebang began with some rousing “patriotic songs” belted out by PLA troops on Tiananmen Square. The soldiers harmonized over some nationalistic classics in Soviet mass song style.
Xi arrived and greeted the diplomatic entourage, including representatives from about 40 different nations, in the Forbidden City like a true emperor. The diplomats represented nations from Africa, Europe, Asia as well as United Nations agencies, the most amusing of whom had to be British politician Kenneth Clark, who appeared to have eaten something dodgy the night before.
As they all gathered for the ceremonial group photo it was interesting to see who was positioned to Xi’s right hand side, none other than Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, getting all pally
The top question of the day asked by CCTV presenters and directed at an Oxford university historian was “Why didn’t Japan send a representative to Beijing?”
With reporters pressuring the historian to answer along the lines of Japan still being unable to face the shame of wartime atrocities, the historian pointed out that it was in fact some brave Japanese journalists who had uncovered the atrocities commited at Nanjing by their fellow countrymen. He added that if the peace parade wasn’t so militaristic in nature then perhaps a Japanese envoy might have attended.
Though if it had been less militaristic, we wouldn’t have these sweet patriotic images from the skies above the parade.
Chinese netizens obviously got a kick out of today’s events. One popular photo poked fun at how insanely hot today’s parade was, due to the unusually “anti-fascist blue” skies, with an old lady providing an umbrella and fan to help the PRC president stave off sweltering heat.
Meanwhile, web users were overjoyed to see former leader Jiang Zemin back in the spotlight, contrary to some reports that he had fallen out of favor, and looking like his usual toady self.
— George Chen (@george_chen) September 3, 2015
by Daniel Cunningham