Troops from 17 countries are undergoing intense training in Beijing for China’s upcoming military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.
In China’s first ever war anniversary military parade, nearly 1,000 foreign soldiers and officers will march through Tiananmen Square on Sept. 3. The troops come from countries like Russia and Pakistan, as well as places farther away like Mexico and Egypt.
The soldiers start their training at 8:00 a.m. and usually don’t finish until they’ve put in at least eight hours of training. The leader of the Cuban Guard of Honor, Peraza, told CCTV News that his troops were often the last to leave the grounds.
The warm-up for the Cuban formation, which consists of 82 soldiers and officers, is the Chinese martial art of Tai chi.
“We mixed in several elements of Chinese martial arts in our regular training. We find it very beneficial to our health. And we find it helps a lot in stretching our bodies and keeping us energized,” Peraza said.
This is likely the first time in history that Beijing will witness Armies from so many countries in one place. Each soldier views this as an event of their own national pride and a memorial for those who died in World War II.
“Our grandparents fought heroically in the Second World War. Comrades from both Russia and China stood together against the enemy,” Dmitry Bobroff, head of the Russian Formation, said. “For me, it is a great honor to take part in the military parade in China, because through this event, we can honor together the war heroes and remember that tragic part of history.”
Zhu Chenghu on China’s WWII victory parade participants
For more on the participants of China’s WWII victory parade, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Zhu Chenghu of the Defense Affairs Institute, PLA National Defense University.