Chinese President Xi celebrates military in speech focused on peace, future

Chinese Culture

Pomp, pageantry, and pride – all on parade as China marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

In a first, the military parade was held to spotlight Army Day. Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his capacity as Chairman of the Central Military Commission, inspected the troops and delivered a keynote speech.

CGTN’s Michael Butterworth explains the show of might put on by one of the world’s largest standing militaries.

Over 12,000 soldiers and officers took part in the Army Day celebration, and with them, more than 100 aircraft and some 500 ground armaments. This was the first time, the commander-in-chief reviewed the troops in the field. The stress was on combat style – everyone in camouflage.

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Instead of a Guard of Honor, a formation was formed by ground forces, the navy, the air force, and the rocket force, a first in a PLA parade. They carried the flags of the CPC, the nation, and the military. Some 41 helicopters flew in two formations – one spelled out the Chinese characters for eight and one – referring to August first and the other – the number “90” – for the PLA’s 90th anniversary.

In a first, female soldiers appeared as fighters in the field. The event was designed as a display of the nation’s self-defense resolve and capabilities. The parade also showcased steps the PLA has taken to shape an armed force of conviction, loyalty, and capability. Combat readiness is what the military needs to win peace in a world of conflict.


For more on the global perception of the People’s Liberation Army, CGTN’s Wang Guan spoke to Brendan Mulvaney. He’s the director of the China Aerospace Studies Institute.