China’s President Xi Jinping opened celebrations on Tuesday to mark 70 years of Communist rule vowing that “no force” would be able to shake the country.
The day started with 56 guns being fired to represent the number of different officially recognised ethnic groups in China.
Afterwards, 70,000 balloons released over Tiananmen Square. And there’s some justice for pigeons – 70,000 pigeons have been released too.
“There is no force that can shake the foundation of this great nation,” Xi told invited delegates as he stood at the Tiananmen Square gate where Mao Zedong declared the People’s Republic of China in October 1949.
After his speech, Xi, the country’s most powerful leader since Mao, reviewed the massed troops from the rear of an open-topped Red Flag or Hongqi limousine.
New weapons – including a hypersonic balistic nuclear missile capable of breaching anti-missile defences to reach the United States, were rolled out across the tarmac.
Meanwhile, the major headache for president Xi is facing Hong Kong, where pro democracy protesters plan to grab the spotlight from Beijing’s celebrations.
A massive parade of troops and military hardware showcased Chinese muscle in the face of an unprecedented challenge to its authority in Hong Kong.