Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Marching to Different Tunes

On Sunday night two different people told me they saw large military vehicles parked along the East Third Ring Road by Tuanjiehu and soldiers in full combat gear complete with black helmets and masks holding serious weaponry. They said it was a pretty scary sight.
One of these friends said she saw a number of tour buses the soldiers were guarding so we speculated that the buses were full of participants probably on their way to Tiananmen Square for the second round of rehearsals for the October 1 festivities.
While the central government has issued guidelines suggesting "solemn, festival, prudent and peaceful" celebrations of the upcoming 60th anniversary, it looks like it will be an all-out affair, especially in terms of military might.
Yesterday morning at the gym a middle-aged man on the treadmill had the television screen above him on and it was showing a program about the military preparing for the upcoming parade down Chang'an Avenue.
This intrepid TV crew was able to go to the barracks where the army, navy and air force were based, on an abandoned air strip, where they have setup temporary housing quarters.
After a series of security checks -- even for A (H1N1) -- complete with a surgical mask -- a chippy female reporter and her crew were allowed inside to see everything from the rooms with bunk beds and the neatly folded blankets to the kitchens serving a variety of dishes.
But the main event was the marching. The soldiers from the army, navy and air force were all in uniform, practicing their marches up and down the runway. And there were lots of shots of them marching perfectly in time. Their superiors were watching above from portable staircases to make sure no one was out of step -- as if that would be hard to notice.
Every country is proud of their military, but none as much as China. It takes every opportunity to glorify the People's Liberation Army and exploit the image of soldiers as patriotic, selfless, disciplined and brave.

The propaganda machines are churning overtime to stir up patriotism for October 1 and nothing is more effective than showing the PLA marching down Chang'an Avenue.

Of course the effect would be even more proud if the laobaixing or ordinary people could witness it in person. But sorry folks, the big 60th bash is invitation only. You'll just have to watch on TV instead.

So much for founding the country for the people...


gung said...

all countries are proud of their military might as witnessed in national days parade. in the u.s. even during half time show of football games we can see the colors of military cadets marching bands etc.

VAJRA said...

By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

The Tian An Men square – that is where all roads in Beijing lead to today. The place is all decked up. An impressive portrait of Mao Dzdong, the great political and military thinker and a founder leader of the present regime of China, is the only decoration piece on the ancient royal rostrum where the present leadership will assemble to see the military might and people’s power this morning. It is 1st October 2009. Exactly sixty years ago, on 1st October 1949, right here had stood the then top brass of the Communist party of China to herald the birth of the new China. They had won the country by their blood, sweat and tears, sacrificing their loved ones in battles fought with the nationalist forces of General Chiang kai-shek until winning the final great push and banishing the adversary to Formosa, now Taiwan. It was a long fought civil war where no quarters were asked for and none given. Chairman Mao had personally declared the founding of a new China, the People’s Republic of China that day.


The China of today is so different from the China of 1949 that it sets friends and philosophers thinking about what brought about the total makeover. To my mind the greatest asset of the Chinese nation is their capability of loving their past, enjoying the present and working for a future. This mental make-up of the Chinese people is the outcome of an amalgamation of the Confucian, Buddhist and Tao philosophy of life. The Chinese history of many thousand years lets us have an inkling into their trials and tribulations, numerous founding of dynasties, their rise and fall, foreign invasions where the conquerors like the Mongols were culturally conquered by the Chinese and finally their spirit of adventure and inventions. The thread of continuity is discernible throughout and a hidden hatred for the “foreign devil” is unmistakable.

Mobilisation of Manpower for the common good has been one of the greatest assets of the Chinese people. The Great Wall of China bears testimony to this national asset. The Great Wall was built over centuries by different kingdoms but the continuity and will to complete it remained unshaken. Many acts of human cruelty on forced labour, their separation from their loved ones, surviving on meagre meals and lying buried under the foundation of the Wall are just a few of heart-rending facts of history. The aim was, however, achieved and the wall was made. It could not stop the invaders, though. The hordes of Mongols under the great Khans who were sky worshippers and not Muslims as the mistaken perception is, conquered and ruled China for a century. Eventually they were absorbed by the Chinese people and became as one of the native Chinese. The Chinese nation continued marching forward.