Beijing. China will hold a grand military parade, the largest in two decades, on October 1 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and some advanced domestically made weapons will debut.
The scale of this year’s military parade will exceed those of the 50th and 60th anniversaries, as well as the parade in 2015 that commemorated the 70th anniversary of the victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), Major General Cai Zhijun, deputy head of the office of the leading group for the military parade, said at a press conference held on Thursday.
The 2015 parade involved around 12,000 people, including 11 infantry formations, 27 equipment formations and 10 air formations. Around 500 pieces and 40 types of equipment and 200 aircraft of 20 types were on display. Some 84 percent of the equipment made their maiden appearances, according to previous media reports.
The military parade aims to showcase national and military power and inspire Chinese people’s patriotic enthusiasm. It will show the army’s unchangeable spirit of listening to the Party, reflect the achievements of military reform and mobilize the people to make unremitting efforts to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, Cai noted.
The expansion of the parade is neither aimed at any specific country or region, nor targets any particular affair, Cai said.
Chinese military observers said the parade, which can been seen as an unprecedented grand ceremony, will manifest China’s military power, telling the Chinese people that China has the capability to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and any country that attempts to provoke China and threaten China’s territorial sovereignty and integrity should think twice.
During the press conference, Cai revealed that some advanced weapons will make their debuts in the equipment formation of the parade and all equipment that will be on display in the parade is domestically made and is in service.
The general would not confirm whether a Dongfeng-41, China’s next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), will be in the parade, but asked for patience.
The missile has been highly anticipated by the military fans who wish it will make its debut at this year’s parade. Some speculated that the underground tunnels in Chang’an Avenue in downtown Beijing where the parade will pass by are being strengthened in recent days because the missile will show up on the National Day.
Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times on Thursday that the Dongfeng-41 is a three-stage solid-fuel missile with a maximum range of at least 12,000 kilometers, meaning it could strike anywhere in the world from a Chinese mainland site.
It can carry up to 10 independently targetable nuclear warheads, each of which can target separately, Xu said.
With high speed, the new missile can use decoy devices and chaff to pierce through enemy’s missile warning and defense systems, he said.
The successful testing of Dongfeng-41, together with other weapons, is regarded by Chinese military experts and enthusiasts as evidence that the gap between the Chinese and US militaries is shrinking.
The Dongfeng-41 is the fourth-generation strategic nuclear weapons of the PLA Rocket Force. China’s fourth-generation nuclear missiles are basically at the same level as the seventh-generation nuclear missiles being developed by the US and Russia, and have attained a world-leading level in terms of technologies, materials and processes, a military expert told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Thursday.
China’s Type 15 tanks are another weapon that military fans are expecting to see in the upcoming parade, after China’s recently released national defense white paper confirmed that Type 15 tanks have been commissioned into the Chinese military.
The domestically developed Z-20 helicopter is also highly anticipated. An echelon of the helicopters was spotted flying in formation near southeast Beijing’s Yizhuang area in a video posted by the Aerospace Knowledge magazine on its Sina Weibo account on August 19. The Z-20 echelon seemed to be preparing for the National Day parade, the Aerospace Knowledge magazine said.
Military experts told the Global Times previously that the Z-20 has been in trials for some time. The Z-20 is a 10 ton-class medium-lift utility helicopter often compared to the US’ UH-60 Black Hawk. It can have different versions to adapt to different terrain and weather, and is expected to be used by both the PLA army and PLA navy.
The J-20 stealth fighter jet, which met the public at Airshow China in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province in 2016 and 2018, and the military parade at the Zhurihe training base in Inner Mongolia region in 2017 which marked the 90th founding anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is also expected to be seen flying past the Tiananmen Square, where the parade will be held, on the day.
The key technologies and core components of all the weapons are domestically made, which exhibit the country’s achievements in military reform and efforts to achieve the modernization of China’s defense and armed forces by 2035, Xu said.
Analysts said no matter whether these weapons will make their debut or not, China will continue to unswervingly promote its military power and no force can stop China’s independent development of military technology.
Since the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress in 2012, the country has put forward the goal of building a strong military that follows the Party, fights to win and forges exemplary conduct.
A new military structure has been established with the Central Military Commission exercising overall leadership, the theater commands responsible for military operations, and the services focusing on developing capabilities.
Focus on people
The ceremony will focus more on ordinary people. Over 100,000 people from all walks of life will participate in the parade and around 60,000 residents in Beijing will attend the evening gala on October 1.
A ceremony to award highest state honors to 36 national heroes will also be held to celebrate the anniversary.
China will also award souvenir medals to people who have made contributions to the establishment of the PRC.
Those who sacrificed for their country will not be forgotten in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the PRC’s founding. Local authorities will visit veterans, elderly Party members and the families of martyrs, according to the conference.
Performers from Hong Kong, Macao and the island of Taiwan, who love the motherland and uphold the “one country, two systems” principle and support the reunification of China, will perform at the gala.
Liu Xuanzun contributed to this story.
(In association with Global Times)