Crit­i­cism of pa­rade ad­dressed

Sug­ges­tions re­pu­di­ated that China is flex­ing its mus­cles or im­prop­erly spend­ing money

China Daily (Canada) - - V-DAY COMMEMORATION - By ZHANG YI zhang_yi@chi­

Peo­ple’s Daily, the Com­mu­nist Party of China’s of­fi­cial news­pa­per, has force­fully re­pu­di­ated sug­ges­tions that China is show­ing off its mil­i­tary mus­cle and that too much is be­ing spent on the com­mem­o­ra­tive cer­e­mony and mil­i­tary pa­rade on Thurs­day in Bei­jing.

As 12,000 Chi­nese troops and their coun­ter­parts from about 10 coun­tries pre­pare to march through Tian’an­men Square, and fi­nal prepa­ra­tions for show­cas­ing the latest mil­i­tary hard­ware are made, Peo­ple’s Daily said there are three ques­tions that should be an­swered.

Ever since it was an­nounced that a mil­i­tary pa­rade would be staged on Sept 3, a new Chi­nese hol­i­day to com­mem­o­rate vic­tory in the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s War of Re­sis­tance against Ja­panese Ag­gres­sion (1937-45), spec­u­la­tion grew over whether the cav­al­cade was de­signed to flex mil­i­tary mus­cle, the pa­per said.

“As the author­i­ties re­cently lifted the cur­tain on the pa­rade, an­nounc­ing that thou­sands of sol­diers, around 200 air­craft and 500 pieces of mil­i­tary equip­ment will be re­viewed, voices are get­ting stronger that China was de­mon­strat­ing mil­i­tary power to for­eign coun­tries, in­clud­ing theUnited States.”

That per­cep­tion is mis­guided, Peo­ple’s Daily said: “What China aims to demon­strate through the pa­rade is the de­ter­mi­na­tion and ca­pa­bil­ity of safe­guard­ing jus­tice and peace with 84 per­cent of its mod­ern equip­ment on dis­play.”

The pa­per added that pa­rade for­ma­tions will in­clude vet­er­ans who took part in the war against Ja­pan’s in­va­sion and the off­spring of those who died in the war to honor the vic­tory won by the con­certed ef­fort of the whole Chi­nese na­tion.

“Thirty VIP guests in­clude mostly heads of state or gov­ern­ment and se­nior rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 19 for­eign coun­tries. They will at­tend the cer­e­mony and re­viewthe pa­rade,” it said. “For­ma­tions and teams from 17 coun­tries will be re­viewed, which will re­mind peo­ple that China was the main bat­tle­field of the east dur­ingWorldWar II and demon­strate the his­tor­i­cal sta­tus of China as a vic­to­ri­ous na­tion.”

The news­pa­per also de­nied al­le­ga­tions in Ja­panese media that the mil­i­tary pa­rade is a warn­ing mes­sage to de­ter Ja­pan, say­ing that the event is an alert for all to re­mem­ber the bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing the war, which ended 70 years ago.

“Ja­pan is also obliged to re­view that chap­ter of history be­cause Ja­pan was an in­vader. The Ja­panese peo­ple were also the vic­tims of the war. The Chi­nese stance is clear that the Ja­panese peo­ple should not be as­so­ci­ated with mil­i­tarism,” it said.

“Ja­pan was in­vited to join the event, which it­self is a man­i­fes­ta­tion ofChina’s gen­eros­ity. The pa­rade does not in­tend to de­ter any par­tic­u­lar coun­try.

It will give Chi­nese peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to reac­quaint them­selves with the in­valu­able lessons that history teaches.”

“If the pa­rade has to be la­beled as a de­ter­rent for cer­tain groups, it aims at mil­i­tarists who deny and dis­tort his­tor­i­cal facts and peo­ple who sabotage peace.”

In re­sponse to the ac­cu­sa­tion that large amounts of gov­ern­ment money had been in­vested in the pa­rade rather than spent on the con­sid­er­able num­ber of pover­tys­tricken peo­ple in China, Peo­ple’s Daily said the wor­thi­ness of stag­ing such an event should not be de­meaned with ex­cuses of other im­por­tant is­sues on the gov­ern­ment agenda.

“It will giveChi­nese peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to reac­quaint them­selves with the in­valu­able lessons that history teaches and serve as a tremen­dous fil­lip to the con­fi­dence of 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple in look­ing at the coun­try’s fu­ture.”

In ad­di­tion, the pa­rade is pre­pared un­der the rule of aus­ter­ity, it said, adding that sol­diers live in ren­o­vated old bar­racks and are trained with ex­ist­ing weapons and equip­ment.

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