The People’s Republic of China Celebrates 70th Anniversary of its Founding
October 1, 2019 marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, when the nation was established under Communist rule. The day also marked the start of the country’s Golden Week, one of two “Golden Week” vacations when tourist sites across China become packed and Chinese travelers flock abroad.
In Beijing, past and present leaders of China gathered in Tiananmen Square to view the military parade of 15,000 troops and weapons, showcasing China’s military prowess to its people and to the world. Most notably among the weapons displayed was the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles which has become known as the backbone of China’s nuclear deterrence. The missile is said to have the capacity to carry several nuclear warheads and reach as far as the United States.
President Xi Jinping wasted no time to declare that “no force can shake the status of this great nation.” In the speech issued from the Gate of Heavenly Peace, where Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, President Xi promised to “continue to strive for the motherland’s complete reunification,” alluding to China’s attempts to crack down on dissent in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan as well as reaffirm his longstanding commitment to Chinese prosperity.
On Tuesday, Taiwan’s government issued a statement in lieu of the anniversary condemning China’s “dictatorship,” stating that the People’s Republic was a threat to its peace. Southward, protests continued to fill the streets of Hong Kong in mass on Tuesday, culminating in what is considered one of the most violent rallies since protests began 4 months ago. Police have confirmed that an officer “shot and injured an 18-year-old man,” marking the first time that lethal force was used during the rallies.
Still, President Xi, the most significant leader of the Middle Kingdom and a major player in global politics, has risen to become one of the most consequential communist leaders since its founder Mao Zedong, remaining popular in China for his aggressive campaign against corruption and his leadership in propelling the nation to become the world’s second largest economy as well as a significant player in international affairs.
Videos published in the weekend before the celebrations showed foreign citizens, gathered by the authorities, praising China’s culture and development. “I love you China… I love your homegrown sugar cane, that quenches my heart like milk,” sang a chorus of singers that included Canadians, Germans, and Americans. Another released video showed Thai citizens praising Chinese infrastructure and culture with hashtags linking to the country’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Such videos designed to bolster patriotism and support for the anniversary will continue to contrast with domestic and international attitudes toward the Chinese government over human rights violations, anti-government sentiment, and backlash over trade.