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October 2, 2009

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Hu leads National Day celebration full of confidence in a bright future

CHINA staged a grand celebration in Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing yesterday to showcase the strength and vitality of Chinese-style socialism 60 years after the founding of New China.
President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders viewed the two-hour spectacle, which involved nearly 200,000 military and civilian participants, from atop the rostrum where Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the birth of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Hundreds of millions watched the event on television and on the Internet.
Wearing a Mao suit, Hu stood in an open-top black Red Flag limousine to review the military formations assembled along Beijing's broad Chang'an Avenue.
"We must unswervingly follow the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics . . . and the reform and opening-up policy," he told the nation.
"The development and progress of New China over the past 60 years fully proved that only socialism can save China and only reform and opening up can ensure the development of China, socialism and Marxism," the president said.
The president said the Chinese people are "full of confidence" in the nation's bright prospects.
His speech was followed by a much-anticipated military parade showcasing 3,000 of China's elite troops and its most sophisticated weaponry, much of it on display for the first time and all of it designed and manufactured in China.
To protect itself from the nuclear arsenals of the superpowers during the Cold War, China began to develop strategic nuclear and missile weapons systems in the 1950s.
In more recent decades, the People's Liberation Army has been transformed from a labor-intensive force into a technologically advanced one.
China's military development followed decades of aggression from outside forces. In August 1900, allied forces sent by Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Tsarist Russia, Japan, Italy and Austria forced their way into Beijing and looted the 3,000-year-old city.
"That was one of the darkest moments in China's history, a huge humiliation," said Tang Liang, 23, a postgraduate majoring in rocket design at Beijing's Beihang University, who watched the parade on the Internet.
"But I think that will never happen again,'' Tang said. "That's why we need a strong army and strong national defense."
Yesterday's event was not only a display of military might; it was also a celebration of the Chinese people - their past and their future, their resiliancy and their aspirations. Nearly 80,000 children holding aloft wreaths and flowers turned the vast Tian'anmen Square into a sea of color as they spelled out slogans.
About 100,000 civilians filed past the square in a parade of colorful floats depicting the nation's history. In the midst of the parade were giant portraits of four generations of Chinese leaders - Mao Zedong, economic reforms architect Deng Xiaoping, former President Jiang Zemin and his successor, Hu Jintao.
It was Mao who led the successful struggle that brought the founding of the People's Republic of China. There were doubts at the time that the Communist Party of China had the administrative experience to govern and feed a poor country with a population of 500 million.
Its mettle was tested by the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea from 1950-53, three years of natural disasters that ended in 1961, the aftermath of the Great Leap Forward and the 10-year turmoil of the "cultural revolution."
The year 1978 proved to be a watershed in reshaping China's future. Reformers led by Deng Xiaoping decided to open the country to the rest of the world and formulated a new economic model for the nation.
"What is truly remarkable is that despite all the pitfalls and problems of the past 60 years, the nation has not only survived but is moving dramatically ahead as an economic giant," said Cheng Li, director of research at the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution in the United States.
The so-called China model has survived, he added, because China's leaders and people have been pragmatic enough to learn from their mistakes and keep development on track.


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