China’s aggression is destabilizing its neighbors in the South China Sea. China never stops cheating on world trade. China’s stock market is a trap for investors. China’s devaluation of the yuan is a dirty trick. China is imploding. President Xi Jinping does not have any credibility left. And China is a major threat because the Pentagon said so.
Cue to clear blue skies over Beijing – engineered with a hefty dose of political will. Lots of glittering toys – aerial and terrestrial. Guests from all over the world (absent the predictable Western suspects). A made-for-TV spectacular dwarfing the Oscars (no teary-eyed acceptance speeches!) What’s not to like?
And then, there it was, strutting its lethal stuff on the Tiananmen catwalk: the Dongfeng-21D. A cracking land-based anti-ship ballistic missile capable of destroying one of those multibillion-dollar US aircraft carriers with a single hit.
No wonder China’s parade celebrating the end of WWII had to be demonized to oblivion.
China’s “say hello to my new toys” show had plenty of co-stars. The DF-5B – an ICBM designed to carry nuclear warheads. The DF-26 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), a.k.a. the Guam Killer, as in capable of wreaking havoc over the notorious U.S. Pacific Ocean base. The HQ-9, China’s third generation surface-to-air missile system. Lots of cool drones. Here’s a (partial) rundown of the greatest hits, and a few misses such as the J-31, China’s fight generation stealth fighter.
The screenplay included priceless dialogue. As in Xi Jinping zooming past the troops, shouting, “Hello comrades! You’ve worked hard!” — to the unison response, “Hello leader! We serve the people!”
No wardrobe fails as Xi’s wife, glamour queen Peng Liyuan, once again ripped, with a tsunami of online shoppers instantly able to snap up her drop-dead red parade outfit on Taobao, China’s answer to eBay.
And then there were those rows and rows of impeccably groomed soldiers saluting Xi with “Follow the Party! Fight to win! Forge exemplary conduct!” What sort of exemplary conduct will apply to 300.000 of their colleagues — soon to be demobilized as Xi revamps the PLA — is open to speculation.
The downsizing of the army to the benefit of allocating equal resources to army, navy and air force is part of Xi’s centralized power manner of governing — as he leads no less than eight extremely high-level policy-making committees, from military reform and cyber-security to short-term financial policy and macro economic planning.
It’s Xi vs. Reuters
China’s V-Day parade specifically celebrated “the 70th anniversary of China’s victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.”
Predictably none of Japan’s TV networks – NHK included – showed the parade live. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, officially invited, snubbed it – in line with the White House and what the State Department ordered the European minions. Here I examined how the juvenihilist Western snubbing poses as “diplomacy.”
The People’s Daily was not off the mark when it stressed the parade, “will give Chinese people the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the invaluable lessons that history teaches and serve as a tremendous fillip to the confidence of 1.3 billion people in looking at the country’s future.”
That was a quite Chinese way to imply that what happened decades ago, as part of the “century of humiliation,” when China was weak and divided, won’t happen again. And those gleaming toys exist for that purpose.
Even more crucial is what Xi said: “That war inflicted over 100 million military and civilian casualties. China suffered over 35 million casualties and the Soviet Union lost over 27 million lives. War is like a mirror. Looking at it helps us better understand the value of peace.”
Once again, in a very Chinese way, Xi did not have to dwell on the fact that only the Atlanticists are allowed to celebrate the victory over fascism and Nazism. When Russia does it — as in the May 9 parade in Moscow — or China does it this Thursday in Beijing, they are branded as “militaristic,” “nationalistic,” or simply “a threat.”
Xi also said that the world today badly needs a sense of global community, and mutual respect and prosperity. Tell that to the exceptionalists. He emphasized China will remain committed to “peaceful development” – the official motto before Xi’s own “Chinese Dream.” And once again, he made it clear, “China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation.”
Perhaps the leader of the soon-to-be top economy on the planet was … lying? Were these sweet words masking a “threat”? Leave it to Reuters to enlighten the whole planet: “For Xi, the parade is a welcome distraction from the country’s plunging stock markets, slowing economy and recent blasts at a chemical warehouse that killed at least 160 people.”
The dogs of fear/envy/resentment predictably barked as the Chinese victory parade gloriously passed.
This piece first appeared at Asia Times.