China’s military and propaganda might was on full display over the weekend with a massive military parade being held out in the dusty steppe of Inner Mongolia attended by none other than Xi Jinping himself in uniform.
The parade, commemorating 90 years since the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), allowed China to show off some of its newest toys, rolling over the ground where Genghis Khan’s horde once rode.
Check out some photos of the festivities below:
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But even with all the jets, tanks and guns, the highlight of the parade at China’s Zhurihe military training base was a speech made by Xi in front of some 12,000 PLA soldiers. In his speech, Xi told the troops that over the past 90 years, the PLA had succeeded in “immortal feats” to protect the Chinese people, while also warning that the world is still “far from tranquil and peace needs to be safeguarded.”
“Our heroic armed forces have the confidence and capability to defeat all invading enemies and safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests,” Xi added. “Today, we are closer than ever to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and more than any time in history, we need to build strong armed forces of the people.”
The massive military parade continues to add to the symbolic power of Xi Jinping as China readies for an extremely significant, twice-in-a-decade, Communist Party congress in Beijing later this year. This is the first time that Xi has reviewed troops out in the field and China’s official Xinhua news agency noted that this used to be the kind of thing that Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping would do.
Additionally, troops taking part in the parade saluted Xi as “chairman,” rather than the previously customary “commander,” further reinforcing Xi’s status as greater than that of previous president Hu Jintao. At last year’s Party congress, Xi was named as China’s “core” leader — a title that in the past has only been applied to Mao, Deng and Jiang Zemin. It’s these kinds of clues that have some thinking that Xi might well want more than just two terms in office.
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