China

Beijing’s grand but empty parade

This week marks a special anniversary regarding World War II, 70 years after it ended with victory by the Allies over Japan. However, the biggest event commemorating this is being held in Beijing tomorrow September 3. China has spared nothing in holding a grand military parade while also granting a one-off 3-day holiday. This is despite the Communist Party having little to do with the victory – the PRC did not exist then and the Communists hardly did any fighting against the Japanese, mostly hiding in the background while the then-ruling KMT army fought battles. In any case, neither the KMT nor Communists won the war against the Japanese, the Americans did thanks to their victories in the Pacific and their use of atomic bombs to force Japan’s surrender.

And if you think the people would be happy, well keep in mind the general public cannot attend the parade nor be anywhere near it – people who live in apartments near the parade route have been told to stay away from balconies or windows. Transportation (subway, train stations, airport), restaurants and streets in Beijing will be closed before and during the parade. The Forbidden City and many other tourist attractions will also be closed. Even the stock markets will be closed too. It is almost as if the capital is being locked down just for the sake of this parade that is intended to massage the ego of the CCP rather than a sincere commemoration of a special anniversary. The official name of the event says it all – the Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Victory of Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.
This is what the CCP is mainly about, maintaining and showcasing its power at the expense of everything and everyone else, as it marks a military victory it had nothing to do with. The hollowness of the military parade is actually an symbol of what the CCP stands for.

The past few weeks haven’t been too rosy for China. The stock market was hit by a big slump last week while data and reports about the economy have become increasingly dire. The major port city of Tianjin, one of China’s four special municipalities, suffered a tremendous disaster when explosions erupted at a factory containing dangerous chemicals, killing over a hundred people and wounding several hundred.

I’m not going to gloat or feel any satisfaction over events like the Tianjin tragedy, though the stock market plunge is another matter, but it does represent a stark sign of the way how China has developed recently. Specifically, prioritizing the economic and industrial growth whilst neglecting the enforcement of rules and transparency and accountability. I feel that this state of affairs may not even improve substantially anytime soon and it won’t be good for the world either.

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