Chinese president hails military in show of might

Chinese president hails military in show of might
Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects troops of the People's Liberation Army. Photo: CCTV via AP Video

China's military has the "confidence and capability" to bolster the country's rise into a world power, President Xi Jinping said as he oversaw a large-scale parade meant to show off China's fighting prowess.

Live state television broadcasts showed Mr Xi, dressed in fatigues and speaking from an open-top jeep, telling his troops that China needs a strong military "more than ever" as it moves "closer to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation".

Mr Xi, who commands the People's Liberation Army as chairman of the Central Military Commission, has frequently spoken of his "China Dream" to restore China to a leadership position in international affairs with a modern, far-reaching military force to match.

He inspected troops, armoured vehicles and conventional and nuclear missiles, hailing each formation by shouting "Comrades, you've worked hard".

The parade at the Zhurihe military training base in China's Inner Mongolia region marked the 90th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army's founding.

Long criticised as a corrupt bureaucracy with scant combat experience, the PLA has undergone reforms and an ambitious modernisation programme to make it a leaner force capable of projecting power overseas.

Hundreds of thousands of troops have been cut from the world's largest standing army while the PLA has invested heavily in aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and stealth fighters with the goal of surpassing the United States in regional and even global influence.

Although China has framed its growing military as a force for stability and peace, its expanding footprint and assertive posture in contested regions like the South China Sea has worried small neighbouring nations.

Domestically, Mr Xi has taken steps to enhance his control over the PLA, just as he has over every other political power base within the sprawling Communist Party.

Despite the military establishment's clout, he has not shied from ordering anti-corruption campaigns that took down top-ranking generals and creating new battle theatres that placed trusted officers in command and shunted aside others.

To reinforce his political position, Mr Xi has extracted televised vows of loyalty from top generals while holding frequent events to show his affinity and support for the military, including a troop inspection in Hong Kong in June and a ceremony to present citations to 10 officers last week.

Mr Xi again issued a demand for loyalty on Sunday, instructing his amassed troops to "unswervingly stick to the fundamental principle and system of the party's absolute leadership over the army".

He added: "Always listen to and follow the party's orders. And march to wherever the party points to."

More in this Section

Rubbish piling up in Athens as workers embark on series of strikesRubbish piling up in Athens as workers embark on series of strikes

SNP might want no-deal Brexit, claims Michael GoveSNP might want no-deal Brexit, claims Michael Gove

Scientists develop artificial leaf capable of producing clean gasScientists develop artificial leaf capable of producing clean gas

Commons Speaker rejects bid to hold 'meaningful vote' on Johnson's Brexit deal Commons Speaker rejects bid to hold 'meaningful vote' on Johnson's Brexit deal


Volunteers from the multinational tech company harvest food fresh from Fota Gardens, writes Peter Dowdall.Made in Munster: The tech giant Apple harvesting food from Fota Gardens

Peter Dowdall takes a look at a plant that thrives in damp soil and is a key part of Ireland’s biodiversityThe wonders of willows: A key part of Ireland’s biodiversity

Pollutants can have an impact on your health, but there are things you can do to reduce the potential damage.High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests and strokes’: 5 easy ways to protect yourself

Even if you only have room for one pot in the smallest space, plant some tulips in it to make your garden spring to life, says Hannah Stephenson.7 design tips to make your tulips in garden pots stand out in a crowd

More From The Irish Examiner