An American's Guide to the 70th Anniversary of Red China
October 30, 2019 2:31 PM   Subscribe

On October 1st, China celebrated its 70th birthday (now surpassing the Soviet Union, which only got to 69). There was a big parade in Beijing to commemorate the occasion. Videos, commentary, details - there's a lot

You may have seen brief excerpts in the news; CCTV state television posted three hours of the ceremonies and parade to YouTube, both in Mandarin, and without narration.

That's a long sit, so jump more easily to interesting sections using the approximate times listed below.

There's also a longer, five-hour version with English narration and superfluous two-hour pre-show -- just add that offset to jump to the indicated times. The first highlight is at 12 minutes:
0:12
Artillery salute with slow-motion goose-stepping

0:28
The Leader's motorized review of the Peoples Liberation Army
(adding "Tong Jhi Min Hao" to my very limited Mandarin repertoire)

The parade begins with the first of two aerial fly-bys

0:55
Soldiers begin marching past Tianenman Gate
(don't miss the women's divisions, at 1:02 & 1:05)
(all this goose-stepping reminds me of this sequence from "Why We Fight"

The marching ends at about 70 minutes; then comes the hardware. Jalopnik's Foxtrot Alpha, Here's What We Saw At China's Gigantic Military Parade has all the details. Note the low-res pixelated urban camo they're using.

1:22
Drones (none flying) and hypersonic weapons

1:30
Mobile nuclear missile launchers

The military show ends with the second aerial, singing (begun by a small child), and the beginning of the civilian parade.

1:47
The Old Guard (or their descendants) riding atop 21 golden buses

1:53
The East Is Red

1:56
The pastel cyclists' oom-pah dance

2:30
Floats for Cities and Provinces - note the creative use of screens
(would have been way more impressive after sunset)

2:49
Balloon release - Finale
(Have we learned nothing from Cleveland?)
The detailed Wikipedia page about the event has an interesting Preparations section, about what was it like being in the capital when all this was going on. Finally, there were fireworks in the evening, all over China (but the display in Hong Kong was cancelled).
posted by Rash (12 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Also, if that marching music becomes your earworm (as it has mine), and you need an ID it's the "Parade March" variant of The Military Anthem of the People's Liberation Army.
posted by Rash at 2:43 PM on October 30, 2019


Free Tibet.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:53 PM on October 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


Cool! Now that China has the title, they can retire undefeated!
posted by Roentgen at 4:10 PM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


There are a million Uyghurs in concentration camps across Xinjiang right now, some of whom are getting their organs harvested. The people of Hong Kong are getting shot and beaten in the streets as they fight to protect the slivers of democracy they have left from the CCP.

Maybe there is such a thing as healthy patriotism without violent, fascistic nationalism, but this isn't it. As someone with family in Hong Kong, I find this incredibly disturbing to watch.
posted by OmniPrincess at 4:24 PM on October 30, 2019 [16 favorites]


Apparently if you bring up the fact that China's "successes" have come at a horrendous cost to anyone living under CCP rule who looks, thinks, acts, dresses, believes, grooms, or eats differently it means you're anti-China. Which is fine by me.
posted by 1adam12 at 5:28 PM on October 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


One of the great mass murderers of the 20th century, Mao Zedong, is celebrated as a hero. People join the CCP to get rich. This society can not possibly last.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:11 PM on October 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


After the War, my grandfather spent some time fighting on the side of the Nationalists against the Reds. He never hesitated to share the story of John Birch with us
posted by Fukiyama at 6:14 PM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Chinese nationalism has a really Freudian flavour. I don't just mean the standard "motherland" rhetoric and whatnot - witness young people revving their sportscars in Vancouver literally yelling "China is your daddy". Honestly, China needs therapy. I don't even mean this entirely as a joke - so much trauma has happened over the last 100 years, but you can't even openly discuss half of it without sticking to the official narrative.
posted by airmail at 7:17 PM on October 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


I just finished Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien. It’s a novel following the music students of China, beginning with the Great Famine and continuing through the student revolt to the present day. Thien is a Canadian writer with family roots in China. It’s a big book, and very sad. But it captures something I haven’t seen otherwise in other treatments of the same topic. It may be interesting for some.

After six years living on China’s doorstep, I’m hesitant to judge China. It’s not that the criticism (or the occasional weird lefty adulation) is wrong because I agree with a lot of it, it’s just that the more I live here the less I think I understand.
posted by frumiousb at 7:22 PM on October 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


(Yeah!...)
posted by growabrain at 7:44 PM on October 30, 2019


Would’ve been better with a big Winnie the Pooh balloon. It’s kind of a messed up thing to admit, but I’ve always been grateful for not being born there.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:50 PM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Seconding Do Not Say We Have Nothing. It's an overall fantastic read.

(I am very much on board with not celebrating 70 years of CCP though. Free Tibet, free Hong Kong, free the Chinese people.)
posted by blue shadows at 10:13 AM on October 31, 2019


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