The 70th anniversary of the Peoples Republic of China, which was marked on Tuesday by a mass military parade in the heart of Beijing, was less a historical commemoration than a political event. The Communist party of China (CPC) has understood the power of history ever since it seized the reins in 1949: in its earliest days, it encouraged citizens to recall past bitterness, to make the New China all the sweeter. Xi Jinping understands historys importance better than any leader since Mao Zedong. Not long after taking power, he warned his colleagues that historical nihilism was an existential threat to the partys rule on a par with western democracy.
The tanks, planes, troops and missiles tell a story: in 1949, the republics 17 aircraft were ordered to fly over twice, to make the display look more impressive. This time the west will watch closely as the Peoples Liberation Army unveils new missile, stealth and unmanned vehicle capabilities. The PRC has outlived its big brother, the Soviet Union, and outgrown western economies. Yet it now faces new challenges.
Many in China are grateful for the partys rule. It enjoys a level of support that many democratically elected governments would envy, and not only because of its mammoth propaganda and censorship apparatus. The last 70 years have seen extraordinary progress in lifespan, literacy and incomes: hundreds of millions are no longer living in poverty. Yet people were not lifted out of poverty; they worked their way out. The party banned the family tyranny of forced marriages, but brought the official tyranny of the one-child policy, and even now polices the womb. The advances came at a terrible and wholly unnecessary cost. The famine sparked by Maos Great Leap Forward took tens of millions of lives. Tens of millions more people were hounded in the Cultural Revolution.
Stay connected to the stories and events that make your community a special place to call home.
Subscriptions start at $14.90/month.View subscription options
- Unmatched coverage of Allen County’s local news and sports, a tradition dating back to 1867
- Compelling portraits of our residents, experienced reporting and thoughtful analysis
- Unlimited online access to iolaregister.com and our archives