China celebrated its 70th anniversary of the Communist rule on Tuesday with a massive military parade, showcasing its most advanced weapons, including nuclear and hypersonic missiles, amid mounting political and economic challenges.
The official ceremonies began on Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping paying his respects to the founder of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) Mao Zedong's embalmed body in Beijing.
Xi, accompanied by six other members of the CPC's Standing Committee, visited Mao's mausoleum located in the heart of the power centre, the Tiananmen Square. They bowed three times in front of the former chairman's statue.
Later, addressing a reception at the Great Hall of the People to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) Xi, 66, said over the past 70 years, the Chinese people under the leadership of the ruling CPC had successfully blazed a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and advanced socialism with Chinese characteristics into a new era.
Hailing the remarkable achievements made by the Chinese people in the past 70 years, Xi said absolute poverty, a problem that has plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years, was coming to an end.
"The Chinese nation has achieved a tremendous transformation. It has stood up, grown rich and is becoming strong. It is embracing the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation," he said.
Unity is an important guarantee for the Chinese people and the Chinese nation to overcome all the risks and challenges on the path forward and to achieve new victories, Xi said.
"We should hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and win-win, follow a path of peaceful development, adhere to opening up, and work with people from all other countries to build a community with a shared future for humanity, making the sunlight of peace and development shine brightly all over the globe," he noted.
"The Chinese people and Chinese nation that made the great accomplishments over the 70 years will surely compose new and more beautiful chapters of the times in their journey to reach the two centenary goals and realise the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation," Xi said.
The main event of the celebrations of the day was the largest parade held by the Chinese military.
China, which keeps its top weapons under the blanket of secrecy, has paraded its latest nuclear and hypersonic missiles, besides stealth aircraft and a host of other weaponry. It is being seen as a muscle-flexing exercise by Beijing.
The celebrations came at a time when the country is facing serious political and economic challenges.
The parade is being held in the shadow of unending pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, exposing the CPC's inability to address festering issues.
There is a concern among officials that Hong Kong pro-democracy protests planned for Tuesday could grab the global headlines, overshadowing the military parade in Beijing.
While China is grappling with its economic slowdown, it is also waging a grim trade war with the US.
US President Donald Trump started the trade war in June last year, demanding China to reduce massive trade deficit which last year climbed to over USD 539 billion.
Both the countries have slapped additional tariffs on each other's export goods.
The official Xinhua news agency reported that some advanced weapons will debut in the military parade.
The parade has been held under unprecedented security in Beijing. Most of the main thoroughfares, specially the Chang'an Avenue in which the parade will be held have been closed, well ahead of time. Residents have been ordered to stay at home.
Beijing's two international airports are also expected to be closed for five-and-a-half hours from 8.30 am on Tuesday.