By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA - Tanks, missiles and an assortment of weaponry will roll down the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, as China prepares to display its might on Tuesday, to mark 70 years of communist rule.
The military parade that offers a rare look at China’s military arsenal, including intercontinental nuclear missiles, robotic submarine and the longest-range rockets, coincides with Beijing’s trade war with the U.S., unrelenting protests in Hong Kong and tensions with India.
According to the state-run Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping early on Monday visited Tiananmen Square and bowed thrice before the statue of Mao Zedong, the founder of People's Republic of China, who laid foundations of the communist rule in the country on Oct. 1, 1949.
Chairman Mao, who passed away in 1976 also led controversial cultural revolution during which it is believed that tens of thousands of people were killed.
China, however, has emerged as world’s second largest economy in its 70 years of journey which also witnessed the single party rule, strictly restricting public spaces and dissent.
The country is currently the world leader in manufacturing and the largest trader of goods, with its gross domestic product (GDP) exceeding $13.4 trillion in 2018.
After 26 years of consistent growth, China has faced slowdown this year. The September, was the fifth consecutive month witnessing country’s factory activity slowing down, following tariff war with Washington.
Talking to Anadolu Agency, Hasim Turker, who is academic coordinator at the Ankara-based Bosphorus Center for Asian Studies (BAAM), said that China’s rise has been “one of the most significant development” in the international arena over the past 40 years.
“China’s economy has grown almost 10% annually in the last 20 years. Besides, China’s biggest success has been to eradicate poverty,” Turker said.
Nearly 750 million people lived under extreme poverty in China during 1980s.
“Now this figure is less than 10 million. This is one of the biggest achievements in the modern human history,” Turker claimed.
Declaring that China has become an economic super power, he said the country was on the threshold of becoming a high-level military power as well. The BAAM coordinator said, the country was spending $250 billion annually on defense.
Commenting on China-U.S. relations, he said that the problem is not just the result of the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump.
“China has changed a lot under President Xi Jinping’s rule. Now, a new kind of cold war is inevitable, because both countries are not eager to change their established positions in the near future,” he argued.
China holds two annual mass parades, one on May Day and the other on its national day on Oct.1.
The parades display China’s military prowess and core economic goals. So far, the 10th anniversary celebrated in 1959 is remembered, to have witnessed the biggest military parade and the maximum participation of people.
It was at the Tiananmen Square that the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, leading to the communist rule. Again, it was here in 1978, when the country's paramount leader Deng Xiaoping laid out reforms and open up program, leading to phenomenal economic growth.