Don’t Care!! Beijing Celebrates Japan’s WWII Defeat, But Citizens Tour Japan

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Sep 03 2015
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President Xi Jinping proudly displays the China’s military might – 12,000 Chinese soldiers, 500 pieces of hardware and almost 200 aircraft – in a huge military parade at Tiananmen Square on Thursday as Beijing commemorates the 70th anniversary of Japan’s World War II defeat.

China Beijing commemorates 70th anniversary of Japan World War II defeat - Tanks

As the China’s commander-in-chief by virtue of him as the chairman of the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission, Mr Xi also promised to cut a whopping 300,000 troops from active duty. This means a 13% of the 2,285,000 personnel will be cut. That makes perfect sense because today’s military might is measured on technology and cyber warfare capabilities.

China Beijing commemorates 70th anniversary of Japan World War II defeat - President Xi Jinping

And for the first time, five Chinese navy ships were seen operating in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska, as confirmed by Pentagon officials on Wednesday. The presence of the Chinese ships so close to U.S. shores is the latest demonstration of how China’s military is rapidly expanding its operations far from its own coast to oversee the nation’s growing global interests.


There was a 70-gun salute – to signify 70 years have passed since Japan’s surrender – followed by 121 steps by the honour guard to a flag pole – 121 reflects the number of years since the first shot was fired in the conflict with Japan, clarifying what this grand parade is about. President Vladimir Putin was the most high-profile foreign leader there.

China Beijing commemorates 70th anniversary of Japan World War II defeat - Gun Salute

But instead of tanks, missiles, stealth fighter jets and waves of uniformed men and women marching in step, Chinese citizens appreciate the blue sky in Beijing the most. They couldn’t remember the last time the sky was so blue in Beijing, so much so the Chinese citizens called it #ParadeBlue.


The sky didn’t suddenly turn blue just to admire the country’s military parade, of course. About 10,000 factories in 7 provinces were instructed shut down temporarily. As many as 40,000 construction sites’ workers were told to go on leave. Depending on whether their license plates end with even or odd numbers, private vehicles take turn going into Beijing and nearby cities.

China Beijing commemorates 70th anniversary of Japan World War II defeat - Air Planes - Blue Sky

From August 20 to September 4, those were some of the sacrifices made to reduce emissions of major air pollutants by 40% in Beijing and 30% in other areas. But that were not the only extreme measures taken so far. The Chinese Communist Party had mobilized 850,000 “volunteers” to patrol the capital, so much so that Beijing was like under martial law.


The inconvenience didn’t stop there. Open-air barbecues were banned. Strangely, notices appeared in residential compounds near the parade’s route which read – “Please Close Your Windows And Don’t Peek Out”. Cool, and how on earth can the people enjoy the beautiful blue sky with the windows closed?

China Beijing commemorates 70th anniversary of Japan World War II defeat - Do Not Peek Close Windows

As much as the Chinese government wishes to remind its citizens about its victory in the 1937-45 war of resistance against Japanese aggression, it still couldn’t explain satisfactory such large-scale commemorative activities for the 70th anniversary, but not at the time of the 50th or 60th anniversary. Could this a deliberate act to divert attention from the present economic meltdown?


In reality, it was the Chinese Nationalist Party, or popularly known as the Kuomintang, which fled to Taiwan, that did most of the fighting and lost over 3,200,000 troops during the war. Mao Zedong’s Communists, on the other hand, suffered about 450,000 casualties only. Without the Japanese invasion, could China become a democracy country under Chiang Kai-Shek?

Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Zedong

Nevertheless, when the Japanese formally surrendered on September 3, 1945, it was to the Allies on an American naval ship. And Chiang Kai-Shek, who led the Nationalist government of China, was the Allied commander for China at the time. Hence, it’s reasonable that the Nationalist Party should be celebrated as the hero, not Chinese Communist Party.


But heck, do the Chinese citizens really care? Chinese citizens are proud of what they achieved in the past 30-years, knowing well how influential their country is, so much so that the Americans couldn’t live one day without mentioning China. Well, at least president wannabe Donald Trump has been bitching about the Chinese every single day.

China Beijing commemorates 70th anniversary of Japan World War II defeat - Citizens Shopping at Japan

Taking advantage of the special holiday, thousands of Chinese have chosen to visit Japan, something quite weird considering their government was foaming at mouth reminding them about the Japanese past brutality. According to Ctrip.com, 2,013 people across China booked trips to Japan with departure dates between Tuesday and Wednesday, up from 1,164 a year ago.


Some have taken a longer leave, spending 4-days from Wednesday onwards, simply because Japan is one of their favourite destinations. The tourism industry has attributed the strong popularity to a favourable exchange rate and relaxed visa rules for Chinese tourists, and Japan’s geographical closeness, hospitality and safety.

Chinese Shopping at Japan

According to the latest data from the Japan National Tourism Organisation, Chinese travellers to Japan in the first 7-months of 2015 more than doubled from a year earlier to a record 2.76 million. In July alone, Japan has benefitted from 576,900 tourists from China. Like it or not, many Chinese think the commemoration of the 70th anniversary and travelling to Japan are two separate issues.


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