On 01st October 1949, Seventy years ago today, Chairman Mao Zedong announced the birth of the PRC after the Communist Party of China defeated the ruling Kuomintang.
The last Tour that I took was to China (just got back on Thursday, so still a tiny bit jet-lagged) and the rehearsals and preparations for the celebratory parade that has taken place today impacted our Tour significantly. There were significant street closures and traffic restrictions in central Beijing and we were confined to our hotel in the evenings. From the safety of the hotel bar we were able to watch thousands of people, troops, Main Battle Tanks, Rockets, Drones etc. moving along the street outside to Tiananmen Square for the rehearsals.
So today (this morning in the UK) China has its’ big parade, led by President Xi Jinping and what a display it was! I have posted a video of the entire event at the foot of the page – It’s rather long at 2½ hours but worth the watch! According to the Ministry of National Defence, around 15,000 military personnel, 580 pieces of military equipment and 160 aircraft made an appearance at the parade. The military parade was followed by a display involving about 100,000 civilian performers on floats. Later this evening, a gala performance will be held in the square.
I’m aware that all is not roses in China, and that there are a variety of western opinions about this extraordinary country. I’m not going into that today, because today is China’s Day and I think we should let them enjoy it. To all my friends in China… Happy National Day!