2009 Military Parade

On January 27, China announced that it will hold a military parade in Beijing sometime this September to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. China does not generally hold annual military parades, and the last time it has was in 2009 and 1999 to commemorate the 50th and 60th anniversaries, respectively, of National Day, the October 1, 1949 founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This will be the first time a military parade is scheduled on a day other than on National Day.

The previous National Day military parades occurred near the tail end of Former Presidents Jiang Zemin’s and Hu Jintao’s respective terms. The 70th anniversary perhaps gives President Xi Jinping the chance to show off his military muscle without waiting until 2019. Chinese military parades are a large and orchestrated event with thousands of soldiers marching in lock step, accompanied by heavy military hardware, including missiles, tanks, and fighter jets.

Although Chinese Foreign Ministry released a press release that emphasized China’s motivations as trying to “awaken each and every virtuous man’s desire for and commitment to peace, to refresh people’s memory of the history and love for peace, and to showcase China’s staunch position of upholding the victory of WWII and the post-war international order, and safeguarding world peace,” several news sources have interpreted the announcement as a warning message to Japan and the United States. This year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he was stepping away from its 60-year old pacifist policy after the country’s loss in World War II.

An editorial in the People’s Daily repeated concerns by the Chinese Foreign Ministry that Japan may be watering down its contribution to the “Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression”.

Written by EDMUND XU on January 27, 2014.