In China, the Communist Party is celebrating its 100th birthday. Head of state Xi Jinping rejects any criticism from abroad. The country also wants to stick to the tough course against Hong Kong.
China’s state and party leader Xi Jinping has resolutely rejected pressure from abroad. The Chinese people will never allow foreign forces to “harass, oppress and subjugate” them, Xi Jinping said Thursday at a mass event to mark the 100th birthday of the CPC in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
“Anyone who would try that will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel that 1.4 billion Chinese forged,” said the party leader to the cheers of 70,000 invited participants. He protested against foreign criticism: “We will never accept hypocritical sermons from those who believe they have the right to teach us.”
Memories of 1949
Xi Jinping had gathered with the Chinese leadership on the balcony of the Tian’anmen Gate above the large portrait of the revolutionary Mao Tsetung at the entrance to the “Forbidden City”. The scene recalled how the “great helmsman” had proclaimed the foundation of the communist people’s republic in 1949. Xi Jinping was similarly wearing a gray Mao suit when speaking at the podium with large microphones and a golden hammer and sickle.
On the balcony of the Tian’anmen Gate: Xi Jinping had gathered with the Chinese leadership over the portrait of the revolutionary Mao Tsetung. (Source: Ng Han Guan / AP / dpa)
In his speech, which lasted more than an hour, the party leader also called for the modernization of the armed forces. “A strong nation must have a strong army.” He turned against “independence forces” in the democratic Taiwan, which is regarded as part of the People’s Republic, and called for “peaceful reunification” with the island. Nobody should underestimate China’s determination and ability to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Tough course against Hong Kong
Xi Jinping underlined the party’s absolute leadership role. “China’s success depends on the party.” Without the party there would be no “renewal”. Notwithstanding foreign criticism, he also reiterated the implementation of the Hong Kong Security Act, with which the judiciary in the former British Crown Colony and today’s Chinese Special Administrative Region takes action against the democracy movement.
The party’s anniversary is overshadowed by foreign criticism of China’s tough course in Hong Kong, human rights violations, unfair trade practices, military muscle games against Taiwan and territorial disputes in the South China Sea, among others. The emerging, second largest economic power is often perceived by other countries as a rival or a threat.
At the carefully orchestrated festival event, a military band played revolutionary songs such as “Socialism is Good” or “Without the Communist Party there would be no new China”, which the choirs and the masses sang in the square. Participants, including representatives of the military and minorities, waved red national flags. The square was lined with 100 large national flags.
100 years of the Communist Party of China: The participants waved red national flags to celebrate the party anniversary. (Source: Ng Han Guan / AP / dpa)
A formation of military helicopters formed the number “100” in the sky and flew with hanging flags that read, among other things, “Long Live the Communist Party”. Groups of the modern Chinese J-20 supersonic fighter jet, as well as other pilots trailing blue, yellow and red stripes behind them, also flew over the field in the cloudy sky.
From 56 cannons, which were supposed to represent the number of ethnic groups in China, fired 100 rounds of salutes, while an honor guard of all three branches of arms marched from the Monument of Heroes in the center of the square, some at goose-step.
Fixed without corona measures
Since China has had the corona virus under control for a long time, there were no distance rules at the mass event. The participants also did not wear mouth and nose protection, although this precaution is otherwise required in most shops in the capital.
For a year now, China has seen only minor outbreaks. The authorities react immediately to isolated infections with strict curfews, mass tests, contact tracing and quarantine. A “zero covid policy” is being pursued. Entry is strictly limited. Travelers must be in quarantine for at least two weeks.
Military band rehearsal: Hong Kong prepares for multiple anniversary celebrations. (Source: Ng Han Guan / AP / dpa)
Anniversary in Hong Kong
While the party was celebrating its anniversary in Beijing, Hong Kong celebrated the 24th anniversary of its return to China on July 1, 1997 on Thursday. It also marked the first anniversary of the entry into force of the security law that the Chinese leadership passed in response to the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong for more democracy.
On the anniversary in Hong Kong, on which there used to be frequent marches against Beijing, no demonstrations are allowed for the second year in a row. The reason given was the pandemic. But critics saw an excuse because the infection situation has eased. Organizers had also wanted to implement distance rules.