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September 25, 2009

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Cannons all primed for 60-gun salute to China

CHINA will use modified cannons to fire a 60-round salute marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in Beijing on October 1.

The cannons will be modified versions of the Model 94 cannon used in 1994 on the 45th National Day. Modifications were made by a factory affiliated to the Beijing Military Area.

Yu Guozhen, director of the factory, is fond of the cannons. Model 94 used in 1994 had allowed gunners to load shells from the standing position, unprecedented at the time, Yu said.

The model also had foldable heavy gun mounts, which saved space in storage and transportation. In addition, electricity replaced manual firing and its timing was controlled by computers.

The latest modifications to the model include the addition of status-indication screens, thickened shields, enlarged national emblem marks and a widening of tires, Yu said.

China developed its own salutes in 1985, and they were designated in 1988 to welcome state guests.

At the 35th National Day celebrations in 1984, China used Japanese cannon after repainting them and electrifying the firing controls.

In 1949, at the founding ceremony of the PRC, a Chinese model of mountain cannon was used for the salute. It was chosen because it was short, light and easy to move, said Yu. At that ceremony, 28 salutes were fired, for the 28 years between 1949 and 1921, when the Communist Party of China was founded.


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