People’s Republic of China Marks 60th Anniversary, But Most People Advised to Stay Home

By Patrick Goodenough | October 1, 2009 | 5:04 AM EDT

China's President Hu Jintao, shown in car at bottom, inspects a military parade under a giant portrait of Mao Tse-tung as China's top leaders watch from Tiananmen Gate in Beijing. China celebrated its 60th anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009. (AP Photo)

( – Communist China’s elites marked the nation’s 60th birthday Thursday under a huge portrait of Mao Tse-tung, with a display of military might ranging from nuclear missiles to fighter jets.
Parts of Beijing were locked down, roads and subway stations shut and the international airport was closed for several hours. Apart from 30,000 invited guests, ordinary citizens had been advised to stay home and watch the spectacle on television.
“Police suggest that Beijing residents try not to go out on Oct. 1 to avoid complications,” state media reported overnight.
In a security clampdown in the run up to the events, more than 10,000 police and security officers were deployed in the city and hundreds of thousands of civilians enlisted to help by keeping a lookout for suspicious behavior. The government has been apprehensive about terrorism as well as the type of unrest that erupted in the far-western Xinjiang region this year and Tibet in 2008.
Donned in a dark Mao-type suit, President Hu Jintao from atop a black limousine inspected the military display near the capital’s historic Tiananmen gate.

Chinese military tanks parade past Tiananmen Square during a military parade marking China's 60th anniversary in Beijing on Thursday Oct. 1, 2009. (AP Photo)

Row upon row of truck-mounted nuclear and conventional missiles took part in the parade, as did goose-stepping members of the three services of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), dressed in green, white and blue ceremonial uniforms.
“Greetings, comrades!” Hu greeted them, speaking over a microphone.
“Greetings, leader!” they shouted in response.
“Comrades, you are working hard!” he said.
“We serve the people!” they replied.
A civilian mass pageant including a flotilla of 60 vehicles and involving some 200,000 people showed off aspects of China’s scientific and economic achievements, including hosting the 2008 Olympic Games, under the theme “Motherland and I Marching Together.”
In a speech delivered from above the Tiananmen gate, Hu said China had triumphed over difficulties and setbacks, “to gain the great achievements evident to the world.”

Chinese troops go through last-minute rehearsals in front of Tiananmen Square in Beijing prior to a grand parade marking China's 60th anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009. (AP Photo)

He urged the Chinese people to unite more closely to build a “rich, strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious and modernized socialist country.”
Hu also called on the PLA to safeguard national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, and to maintain world peace.
On October 1, 1949 Mao at Tiananmen Square declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, after communist forces defeated the nationalist Kuomintang government. The nationalists fled the mainland and set up their government in Taiwan.
Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow