Xi calls for strong military to defeat enemies

According to the state-run Xinhua News agency, the parade was the first held to mark Army Day since the creation of the Communist-led People's Republic of China in 1949.

President Xi Jinping will inspect a military parade at China's biggest base at Zhurihe in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Sunday as the country gets set to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the world's largest 2.3 million-strong People's Liberation Army.

"Today, we are closer to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation than any other time in history, and we need to build a strong people's military more than any other time in history", Xi told the assembled troops in a short speech that did not yield any new policy announcements.

The parade at a training base showcasing some of the 2.3 million-strong army, the world's biggest, broadcast live by official media, is apparently meant to demonstrate Xi's firm grip on power at home and overseas, ahead of a twice-a-decade congress of the Communist Party of China in the fall.

The parade is a lively political education for all the servicemen, and a comprehensive test of their will and character, he said. "Officers and soldiers, you must unswervingly stick to the fundamental principle and system of the Party's absolute leadership over the Army, always listen to and follow the Party's orders, and march to wherever the Party points to", said Xi in a televised address.

"The world is not all at peace, and peace must be safeguarded", he said Xi.

Xi is the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, the PLA's controlling body.

It was also the first time Xi has reviewed troops in the field like this, Xinhua added.

Xi Jinping spoke at a large-scale parade designed as a show of strength and featuring 12,000 troops and about 700 armoured vehicles, missiles and aircraft. Xi has been similarly emboldened on the domestic front as he took on powerful figures within the influential military establishment.

The PLA, originally called the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, was founded in 1927 when Communist soldiers seized the southern Jiangxi provincial town of Nanchang from Nationalist Party ("Kuomintang") armies in what is known today as the Nanchang uprising. Find us on Facebook too!

  • Rogelio Becker