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WWII parade details released

(Global Times)    13:51, June 24, 2015

Event to include foreign troops for first time

China on Tuesday revealed plans for its commemorative activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, which is to include the invitation of foreign militaries to participate in a parade in Beijing on September 3. Observers said that the events would serve as a call to major countries, not only Japan, that the world should remain vigilant to preserve peace and guard against a revival of militarism.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, will speak at the event, Wang Shiming, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Xi will award medals to war veterans and to families of the deceased, Wang said.

The parade, marking the 70th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the victory in the World's Anti-Fascist War, will feature some of the country's latest weaponry passing by Tiananmen Square.

It will be the first time China has held a parade to commemorate the war's end since September 3 was ratified as a day of remembrance by China's top legislature in early 2014.

Foreign leaders and military representatives have been invited to the parade, said Qu Rui, deputy director of the Parade Steering Group Office and deputy chief of operations with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) general staff headquarters, without detailing the progress.

"It's the first time we have invited foreign troops to participate [in similar parades]," he said, adding that the invitation showed the wish of China and all other peoples to safeguard world peace.

"As the Japanese right wing has attempted to deny Japan's wartime atrocities and certain allies of WWII have connived at the rightists' denial, it is now necessary to call on major world powers to safeguard the victory of WWII and remain vigilant against the revival of militarism," Major General Xu Guangyu, a senior consultant of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times.

This is also why in 2014, a number of high-level commemorative activities were held to observe victory in WWII and to remember the pain of the Nanjing Massacre, Xu said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping last year attended commemoration events on July 7 to mark Japan's all-out invasion of China, the September 3 victory day, and the December 13 Nanjing Massacre.

Major General Luo Yuan, a vice-president of the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association, told the Global Times that the parade is not aimed at Japanese people, since "fascism is also their enemy."

"They should celebrate the anniversary together with us, instead of feeling panicked about the parade," Luo noted.

At the parade, the troops to be reviewed, coming from China's seven military area commands, are composed of navy, air force, second artillery force, armed police and units under the direct command of the PLA general headquarters and departments, said Qu.

Equipment and weapons on display will be mainly domestically manufactured armaments in service, many of which will be given their first public outing.

All parade troops have been assembled at a Beijing training base and adjacent airports. They will train for three months for the event.

Despite the considerable attention China is attaching to the parade, its scale is unlikely to be greater than the latest decennial military parade on October 1, 2009 which marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), experts projected.

"Unlike the decennial military parades that focused on showcasing China's military strength for national defense, the upcoming parade is more of a commemorative activity that reminds people to value the hard-earned peace," Xu said.

In addition, some Kuomintang (KMT) veterans will also take part in the upcoming parade. "KMT troops played an important role in the war against Japanese aggression," Qu said.

"The invitation of KMT veterans indicates that the CPC has a more objective stance on the war during which the KMT also contributed handsomely to its victory," Luo said.

It is good for KMT veterans to be granted with the national honor, and I hope it can bring them an opportunity to get due personal care and subsidies in their later years, said Sun Chunlong, founder of the Shenzhen Longyue Foundation, which has traced Chinese WWII veterans, mostly KMT soldiers, since 2008.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Gao Yinan,Yao Chun)

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