Source: China Daliy Published: 2019-10-2
Editor's note: China held a military parade on Tuesday to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China, the 15th National Day parade since 1949. During the parade President Xi Jinping delivered a speech to renew China's commitment to peaceful development. Seven experts share their views on the parade and Xi's speech with China Daily.
Huge progress made in military manufacturing
The parade, among all other things, has demonstrated the revolutionary changes and amazing progress that China has achieved in military manufacturing. Now the military equipment on display was 100 percent made in China, a stark contrast to the first military parade in 1949 when the exhibition came from 98 factories in 24 countries.
As a leading industrial power, China excels in the integrated, mutually enhancing and sustainable development of military and civil manufacturing. As a result the upgrade in China's military equipment puts a much lighter load on the national economy thanks to economies of scale. Meanwhile certain major countries including the United States depend on fiscal expenditures to develop the military manufacturing industry and thus put a strain on economic development because they cannot apply the technologies in civil manufacturing and make profits out of it.
In this sense, it is no good for certain major powers to try to instigate a new Cold War as it is no match to China, at least in the sustainable development of the military industry.
Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation
Reflecting new ideas in new era
To a large extent the parade aimed to show the strength of a country that is committed to peaceful development. Generally speaking China's growing military strength could be attributed to Chinese people's hard efforts for seven decades on one hand and China's continuous integration to the international community and its promotion of the basic value of peaceful joint development. With its new capacity what China could contribute to the world is worth looking forward to.
With fewer countries holding it, the parade is becoming an increasingly Chinese tradition. Most importantly it provides an opportunity to China, a country that only gained its sovereignty and independence 70 years ago, to showcase its achievements and unite people. Besides, as the challenges from home and abroad, such as the growing US hostility to China and the constant turmoil in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, become increasingly complicated and acute, it is necessary for China to tell hostile forces it is no longer the weakling and no one could afford to take it for granted anymore.
The parade also emphasized the new development direction, measures and achievements in the new era. For instance, the first formation was the commander formation, showing the growing emphasis on governance. And the float for Shaanxi province carried a stack of bricks, letting people wonder whether it alludes to the demolition of illegal villa projects in the Qinling Mountains. In addition, education, anti-corruption, military construction and technological progress were also well-underlined in the grand rally.
Zhu Feng, dean of the Institute of International Relations of Nanjing University
Conducive to strategic balance and world peace
In this parade we saw many highlights. First of all, all services and arms had their own phalanxes, which in part showed the results of the ongoing military reform which has focused on resolving the deep-seated contradictions and problems in the military policy system. Second, 121 generals participated in the parade, the highest number in history. Also high-level commanders led each phalanx, demonstrating the strong leadership and discipline of the People's Liberation Army. Furthermore, 40 percent of the military equipment on display made a public debut. Among these were the DF-41 intercontinental nuclear missiles that can reach all of China's major competitors and showcase China's most advanced technologies, significantly improving China's deterrent abilities.
Unfortunately some Western countries have listed China as their strategic competitor and introduced pointed military strategies. This could lead to aggravated and dangerous strategic disequilibrium, and even give rise to clashes. In this sense, China's “show of force” is conducive to strengthening its military deterrence and in turn prevents others from resorting to military adventurism, thus contributing to world peace.
In his 10-minute speech Xi has not only recalled China's history, but also pointed out the future course it is determined to take. Just as he said, “No force can ... stop the Chinese people and nation from marching forward.” This shows China's growing confidence on one hand, and sounds the alarm for those harboring evil designs that any attempts to obstruct China's rise would be to no avail.
Su Hao, a professor of international relations at China Foreign Affairs University
Showing China a ready partner for others
In less than 10 minutes, President Xi managed to highlight and emphasize a number of the most powerful themes of his presidency, elements of which were graphically and dramatically demonstrated in the parade that followed.
President Xi, and the parade, took us on a journey that spanned modern Chinese history: from a century of humiliation to the founding of the People's Republic of China to its current path, seven decades later, of national rejuvenation and being on target to reach the two centenary goals "through concerted efforts and arduous struggle".
Few people in the West know that China was the world leader for centuries and is on the threshold of resuming its leading position. But Xi stressed that China will follow the path of peaceful development and continue its mutually beneficial opening-up strategy, neither as hegemon or opponent, but as partner.
China's Belt and Road Initiative, involvement in international and multilateral organizations as evidenced by the Chinese contingent of United Nations peacekeepers who marched in the parade, and other efforts are elements of this engagement. As Xi said, "We will continue to work with people from all countries to push for jointly building a community with a shared future for humanity." This is the polar opposite of the US leader's selfish and shortsighted "America first".
Another polar opposite is that Chinese people are patriotic in the extreme. As we witnessed in the parade, Chinese people love their country and approve of the way it's ruled and take pride in the economic miracles it has achieved. It's been a long time since many of us Americans have felt this pride, especially in the last few years.
Harvey Dzodin, a senior fellow at Center of China and Globalization
A fine model for other developing countries
Criticism of China involving saber rattling by some in the West does not hold water. That China has shown its most advanced weapons in the parade, instead of battlefields, as well as the fact that China has never resorted to force to seek expansion in thousands of years of history, should give them some food for thought.
Different from some Westerners who worship military forces, the Chinese believe in subduing the enemy without fighting, namely military deterrents, resulting in defensive military policies designed to promote peace. It is hard to imagine what could happen to the international community if China had not built a powerful military and the US had its own way. It should be noted that collectivism has helped China improve efficiency and lower costs in the rapid development of its defense industry.
In a way the parade is not only designed to lift morale at home, but also to show to the world that China is not afraid of pressure and bullies from the outside as well as that any results of a new Cold War and decoupling of China and the US could be disastrous.
Some US media have intentionally linked the parade with the Hong Kong issue, which is absurd. What happened in Hong Kong is a storm in a teapot, while the parade is aimed at forces that threaten world peace and development.
That China has significantly increased its military and comprehensive strength should offer great inspiration and hope to other developing countries. That is why the parade has transcended the narrow-minded nationalism and laid emphasis on the building of a community with a shared future for mankind and safeguarding of world peace. It is regretful that some Westerners who are mired in a zero-sum mentality and great-power politics could not possibly understand China.
Wang Yiwei, the Jean Monnet chair professor at Renmin University of China
With China destined to lead
Given China's unprecedented rise and its being catapulted to world leadership by recent US desertions from global responsibilities, the National Day celebrations of China have aptly dominated media headlines worldwide. The parade clearly showcased China's new strengths in organization, technology, coordination, discipline and people's sense of national pride. Most important of course was the speech by President Xi that alluded to the future direction of this powerful juggernaut which seems ordained to transform the history of the 21st century.
China's successive leaders' collective direction has lifted this world's largest nation from its "century of humiliation" and sculpted its Chinese dream of national rejuvenation where two centennial goals promise to make China a moderately prosperous society next year and by 2049 make China a "fully developed, rich and powerful" nation, reaching equal to, if not surpassing, the US.
The most basic comparison shows that while the US, the world's largest exporter of weapons and advanced technologies, represents a 20th-century leadership style, China's ever-growing exports of goods, services and infrastructure represents the leadership that most nations feel increasingly inclined to partner with. This was visible in the national parade celebrating not just China's great political leaders but also entrepreneurs, which remain China's primary drivers for transforming the future of humankind.
Swaran Singh, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Spirit of parade helps Chinese build bright future
No doubt the grand rally will go down as an important moment in New China's history. The splendid parade and the fireworks show on the same day have most clearly and directly manifested the lift in China's national strength.
China has indeed come a long way from an impoverished country that depends on weapons manufactured by other countries and has to fly two times the planes on display to complete its first parade when New China was founded to a power that masters some of the most advanced military technologies.
The grand rally is expected to help the Chinese people build strong national confidence and pride and motivate them to help realize China's great rejuvenation in the future. Certainly there will be more demanding challenges and tasks ahead, but the spirit of the parade which features grit, industriousness and self-correction could help the Chinese people face up to them and create more miracles.
Wang Xuebin, a professor of cultural studies at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee
Wang Yiwei is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.