Pa­rade demon­strates PLA’s evo­lu­tion

Xi calls on mil­i­tary to help re­al­ize ‘Chi­nese Dream, world peace’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI in Zhurihe, In­ner Mon­go­lia zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping urged the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army on Sun­day to spare no ef­forts to build it­self into a world-class mil­i­tary af­ter he in­spected its first field pa­rade in sev­eral decades.

Xi, also gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, said the coun­try is close to its goal of re­al­iz­ing the great re­ju­ve­na­tion of the Chi­nese na­tion, so a strong mil­i­tary is badly needed to safe­guard the process.

He told of­fi­cers and sol­diers who had just passed re­view be­fore him and the PLA’s top com­man­ders to stick to the Party’s lead­er­ship, to con­tinue serv­ing the peo­ple, to fur­ther im­prove their com­bat ca­pa­bil­ity, to deepen their re­form and boost in­no­va­tion.

“I am con­vinced that our heroic armed forces are con­fi­dent and ca­pa­ble of de­feat­ing en­e­mies dar­ing to pro­voke us, of safe­guard­ing our sovereignty, se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment in­ter­ests … and of mak­ing new con­tri­bu­tions to the Chi­nese Dream and world peace,” he said.

The PLA marked its 90th birth­day, which falls on Tues­day, on Sun­day morn­ing with a pa­rade at the Zhurihe Train­ing Base in the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

In all, 12,000 troops and hun­dreds of large weapons and equip­ment, many of them never shown to the pub­lic be­fore, took part in the grand pa­rade, the first held by the PLA at an ex­er­cise field in nearly four decades. In 1981, a pa­rade was held at an uniden­ti­fied train­ing base in North China and was seen by the late top leader Deng Xiaop­ing. The three sub­se­quent pa­rades, in 1999, 2009 and 2015, were at Tian’an­men Square in Bei­jing.

Sun­day’s event also was the first specif­i­cally or­ga­nized to cel­e­brate a found­ing an­niver­sary of the PLA. More­over, it rep­re­sents the PLA’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to ad­vance to be­come a top world mil­i­tary, the PLA said.

On Aug 1, 1927, the Com­mu­nist Party of China, which was founded in July 1921, led a mil­i­tary up­ris­ing in Nan­chang, Jiangxi prov­ince, and es­tab­lished its own armed force in hopes of lib­er­at­ing the Chi­nese peo­ple from the hands of the Kuom­intang rulers, lo­cal war­lords and for­eign im­pe­ri­al­ists.

The date was later com­mem­o­rated as the birth­day of the PLA, which soon af­ter the Nan­chang Up­ris­ing was called the Chi­nese Work­ers’ and Peas­ants’ Red Army, a ti­tle that re­mained for a long time. The cur­rent name — PLA — was for­mally adopted in 1947, two years be­fore the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China.

Troops at Sun­day’s pa­rade had just fin­ished field train­ing at the Zhurihe base, the largest ex­er­cise field in Asia. The train­ing was part of the mil­i­tary’s an­nual rou­tine ex­er­cise plan, the De­fense Min­istry said.

Gen­eral Han Weiguo, com­man­der of the PLA Cen­tral The­ater Com­mand, which ar­ranged the pa­rade on or­ders of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, said the event dis­played the PLA’s new struc­ture and achieve­ments made through Xi’s over­haul of the mil­i­tary dur­ing the past few years.

He said the pa­rade was char­ac­ter­ized by its “close­ness to com­bat”, ex­plain­ing that par­tic­i­pat­ing of­fi­cers and sol­diers were in bat­tle uni­form with their weapons and equip­ment in com­bat-ready sta­tus when go­ing past the pa­rade zone.

In ad­di­tion to the pa­rade, a cer­e­mony will be held at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple in Bei­jing on Tues­day to cel­e­brate the 90th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of the PLA, and Xi will give a speech there, ac­cord­ing to Xin­hua News Agency.

LI GANG / XIN­HUA

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, who also is gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, in­spects mil­i­tary units be­fore the pa­rade at the Zhurihe Train­ing Base in North China’s In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion on Sun­day.

WANG JIANHUA / XIN­HUA

A flag guard for­ma­tion of the ma­jor mil­i­tary branches carry flags of the Party, the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China and the PLA on Sun­day.

WANG JIANHUA / XIN­HUA

Twenty-four he­li­copters fly in the for­ma­tion sym­bol­iz­ing the epic 90-year jour­ney of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army at a mil­i­tary pa­rade at the Zhurihe Train­ing Base on Sun­day.

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