China Thursday sent to the world a clear signal that it would stick to the socialist road with President Hu Jintao's determined remarks underscored by the presence of floats carrying four huge portraits of the Communist Party of China (CPC) leaders from different generations during the National Day grand parade.
Top leaders applaud as they watch the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China at Tian'anmen Square Thursday. [Xinhua] Portraits of Leaders
In his speech, televised nationwide and throughout the world, Hu, in a high-collared Sun Yat-sen dark suit, said the development and progress of New China had fully proved that only socialism could save China and only reform and opening up could ensure the development of China, socialism and Marxism.
"We'll unswervingly stick to the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the reform and opening-up policy push forward scientific development and promote social harmony for a new chapter of the people's happy life," he said.
The portraits of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, mounted on flower-bedecked floats and under the escort of thousands of paraders, also spearheaded four formations showcasing New China's development over the past 60 years in the parade past Tian'anmen Square.
Loudspeakers relayed a different soundtrack for each of the four leaders amid applause and cheering from the audience as each portrait appeared - the first such practice in New China's National Day parades.
"I am very excited at the four portraits," said Wang Weiguo, 49, a Beijing resident in the reviewing stand.
"In four historical periods, the four CPC leaders and their comrades have led the people on a course of development that enables us to live a good life," he said.
"The appearance of the portraits of the four CPC leaders showed that the Party's legacy had been handed down from one generation to another since the founding of the CPC," said Cai Xia, a professor with the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC. "The destiny of the Party is closely related to the destiny of the country."
Forming the background to the parade were slogans on Tian'anmen Square, including "Being loyal to the Party", "Always following the order from the Party" and "Socialism is good", indicating the Party's absolute rule over the country.
The average life expectancy for Chinese people has risen remarkably from 35 to 73 years over the past six decades.
"Today, a socialist China geared to modernization, the world and the future has stood rock-firm in the east of the world," President Hu said.
Ji Changrong, 76, a member of the audience watching the parade, said CPC leaders from different generations, all responding to the requests of their own era, had led the people to build their own nation. "History has proven that the CPC is the best political party," he said.
In his speech, Hu also pledged efforts to strive for the country's complete reunification, calling it "the common aspiration of the Chinese nation".
He said: "We will unswervingly uphold the principles of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems' to maintain long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao and push forward the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Straits."
Looking into the future, Hu said China had "infinitely bright prospects".
Scholars said in spite of the remarkable achievements, China and the CPC face challenges such as the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, fighting corruption, saving energy and emission reduction, and the improvement of people's livelihoods.
"In the economy, the CPC should adhere to the structural adjustment to lay a solid foundation for the country's sustained, rapid and sound economic development," said Cai from the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.