China celebrates 70th birthday amid Hong Kong unrest

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Beijing marks 70 years of Communist rule as Hong Kong protesters

China is flexing its military might with the parade right now — reminding viewers that it has the world’s largest standing army and world’s third largest air force. Since 2014, China has launched more submarines, warships, principal amphibious vessels and auxiliaries than the total number of ships currently serving in the navies of Germany, India, Spain, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. “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.

“No force will be able to stop the steady march forward of the Chinese people and Chinese nation.”

Beijing marks 70 years of Communist rule as Hong Kong protesters

Authorities in Beijing have closed roads, banned the flying of kites, and even ordered pigeons to be caged amid tightened security for the invitation-only event to celebrate China’s journey from war-ravaged country  to the world’s second-largest economy. Behind the projection of strength at the tightly-choreographed event, Xi is facing a clutch of challenges that are testing his ability to maintain economic and political stability at home and abroad.

The frog, named “Pepe” has become a widely popular protest meme in Hong Kong, appearing in endless posters and smartphone messaging stickers, even with the features of the territory’s leader Carrie Lam superimposed on its face.

“We use this frog in our communication, we sort of mock the government”, said Dorothy Chan, who took part in the protest. Cheung said the Hong Kong government had shown the highest sincerity by kicking off a series of community dialogues last week and will use new thinking to address the deep-rooted social issues contributing to protester grievances In an apparent olive branch, Xi promised on Monday to continue to “fully and faithfully implement” the one country, two systems policy under which Hong Kong residents enjoy freedoms unseen on the mainland. “It’s a very, very important day generally for the People’s Republic of China but especially for Xi Jinping,” he said. “He has really pushed forward in his leadership this ‘one China’ policy and what we’ve seen here in Hong Kong with these protesters is going against that.”

After Mao died in 1976, the party launched the reform and opening-up policy under paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, starting decades of breakneck growth and development. But the Communist Party of China (CCP) retained a stranglehold on power, sending troops to end the biggest challenge to its rule in 1989 when pro-democracy protesters occupied Tiananmen Square. As expected, Xi referred in Tuesday’s address to his “Chinese dream”; the “rejuvenation” of a nation that is seeking what it sees as a return to former glory. The Party wants to show on Tuesday “that under the leadership of the CCP, China is making strides towards becoming a rich and powerful country”, said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

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