China celebrates National Day

October 01, 2009 | Posted by Chris

Today in Beijing the much-anticipated National Day celebrations commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China officially kicked off, major news outlets report. The celebrations featured a major parade reminiscent of a bygone communist era, with President Hu Jintao wearing a style of jacket commonly worn by Mao Zedong -- often called a "Mao suit" -- and solemnly greeting parade platoons while standing in a black sedan. The parade also featured the latest in China's military hardware, including tanks, missiles, and jets, and large floats accompanied by tens of thousands of participants that had been training for months to perfect their marching. Equally impressive was a fantastic fireworks display that was held at night and broadcast on TV throughout the country -- in-person viewing of the parade was invitation-only. The festivities may most remind an outside observer of the 2008 Olympic opening ceremony, because both today's and the Olympic celebrations featured large-scale parades and fireworks shows, however today's production was more clearly intended for a Chinese audience, unlike the Olympics which is inherently meant to be a worldwide event. "On one level, they are naturally aware of the international audience," says Geremie R. Barmé of the Australian National University, "but in the end this is a parade and show for Chinese leaders and the people of China."

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