World / Victory parade

Months of practice so China can show world its 'best image'

By ZHAO LEI ( Updated: 2015-08-21 19:02

Months of practice so China can show world its 'best image'

Soldiers of a marching unit look on during a training session ahead of the Sept 3 military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily] 

For 40-year-old Sergeant Major Ding Hui, being in Tian'anmen Square on Sept 3 does not only mean that he will take part in a national military parade for the third time.

"Compared with my past two parade experiences, in 1999 and 2009, this coming parade has more meaning to me and probably to all of my fellow comrades-in-arms," the veteran tank driver from the People's Liberation Army's 38 Combined Corps said.

"It will be a perfect occasion for us to tell our people and the entire world that China is strong and powerful now and that we will never be bullied by other nations again.

"I am the son of a farmers' family so I don't speak rhetoric. What I want to express is that my tank will be the first to go through Tian'anmen Square and it will also be the first to crush the enemy if they dare to invade our country again," he said.

China is staging the grand parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.

More than 10,000 military personnel, as well as war veterans and their descendants, will take part. The veterans and their families will ride in military vehicles.

Hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, missiles and aircraft will also be on show during the parade, according to the PLA Parade Joint Command.

This will be China's 15th military parade since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949.

All troops taking part in the ceremony are receiving extensive training. It started in June, when they were gathered at military bases in Beijing and neighboring regions, Major General Qu Rui from the PLA General Staff Headquarters previously told reporters.

Ding said he was very proud that this would be the second time he will lead the tanks past the Tian'anmen Rostrum to be inspected by world leaders, guests and the Chinese people.

During the 2009 Tian'anmen Square parade in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic, his tank was the first ground weapon to appear after the soldiers marched past.

What also makes him proud is the advanced tank he will drive in the coming parade.

"The new-generation tank I drive is definitely one of the best tanks in the world. It has strong firepower, excellent mobility, supreme protective measures and a comfortable control environment," he said, adding that the Chinese military now has many cutting-edge weapons thanks to the rapid development of defense technology.

Ding said, "We are determined to display to the world our best image and our top weapons."

The sentiment is shared by Rear Admiral Li Xiaoyan, deputy chief of staff of the PLA navy's South Sea Fleet, who will lead a naval vehicle unit through the famous Chang'an Avenue in the parade.

"In the military parade, we will not be regarded as a general or a soldier, all of us will be seen as a representative of the Chinese armed forces. Therefore, though I am a rear admiral, I regard myself as an ordinary soldier, which means I must be trained to as high a standard as for a soldier," Li said.

The rear admiral was true to his word, said Senior Captain Hu Jumin, training supervisor of the naval presence in the parade.

Hu said: "Like any other soldier in my unit, Li practices military parade etiquette for five hours each day. He also spends a lot of his rest time researching the unit's vehicles to help us improve training for the vehicles' drivers."

The rear admiral has set a good example, keeping morale high and inspiring the soldiers, he added.

Li said: "A military parade is like combat, you must try your best to honor the PLA flag and to meet people's expectations."

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