Asia Scope

Happy 60th?

Chinese officials must have been delighted with the weather today for the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic, with sunshine apparently beaming down on the largest-ever parade of its military hardware.

Security was extremely tight, with potential flashpoints like Tibet apparently receiving extra attention. These measures extended to the Internet, with IDG News’ Owen Fletcher reporting that they included:

“[A] crackdown this month on online tools that help users circumvent the ‘Great Firewall,’ the set of technical measures China uses to filter the Internet, according to providers of the tools.”

And, according to our China correspondent, Kathleen McLaughlin, the triumph over ‘all sorts of difficulties’ that President Hu Jintao talked about today when addressing the parade from the top of Tiananmen Gate also includes victory over mother nature.

“Just twelve hours before the People’s Republic of China’s 60th birthday party was slated to begin, Beijing’s skies were thick with soupy smog. But when the day broke over Tiananmen Square and the People’s Liberation Army began its massive show of hardware and patriotism, skies were clear and blue,” she said.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

“Nothing was left to chance for the 60th anniversary party, not even the weather. State media says Chinese military fired rain-making agents into the clouds the night before to create a cleansing storm. It worked, and the brilliant blue skies provided a stunning backdrop to the parade, which seemed at times a spectacle choreographed by North Koreans.

Along with the latest in military hardware, including missiles that can reach the United States, the three-plus hour parade included 60 floats, happy ethnic minorities and singing schoolchildren. Were one to view China only through its National Day parade, it might indeed seem a harmonious society.”