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China's 60th: What has changed?
What the People's Republic's anniversary parades say about how China has and hasn't changed
 

China wants to show the world how it has changed, said Peter Ford in The Christian Science Monitor, by parading modern weaponry and "floats celebrating China’s achievements" through the streets to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic. But the tanks, missiles, and "phalanxes of goose-stepping soldiers" made it a "thoroughly traditional affair," complete with "tired old slogans" —"Listen to the Party's Orders," "Socialism Is Good," "Love the People"—that "would have been familiar to audiences 50 years ago."

"There are a thousand reasons for the Chinese to be proud, and to celebrate," how much the People's Republic has changed, said China Daily in an editorial. Our "once semi-feudal, semi-colonial" country was "on the brink of bankruptcy 60 years ago," but, with a booming economy, "the 'Sick Man of Asia' is now the envy of the world." And outsiders should be happy, too—"with China getting prosperous, stable, and keen on befriending the world, everybody will ultimately benefit."

So it's curious that ordinary Chinese people won't be marching in the parades, said Gordon G. Chang in The Wall Street Journal. That's because the Chinese state, despite the image of strength it's trying to project with its "goose-stepping soldiers," is afraid of and out of touch with its subjects, who are changing faster than their government. Prosperity has "made people aware, assertive, and, unlike their leaders, confident," uncorking a demand for freedom and social change the party can no longer stop.

 

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