China puts military on display for media


Sept. 3, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square was the spotlight of a lavish parade to commemorate Japan’s defeat in World War II 70 years ago.

There was no shortage of firepower on display, including upgraded machinery and previously unseen missiles. China’s growing military power is being keenly watched amid regional tensions. Unexpectedly, President Xi Jinping made an announcement in the beginning of the display that China would cut 300,000 troops from the 2.3 million-strong People’s Liberation Army.

This announcement went top on Chinese most popular searching engines. Chinese state-run newspaper invited analysts to explore more on this message President Xi delivered, and so did some western media who also asked think tanks to analyze what the action will actually bring about.

Personally, I think the cutting troops is a way to showcase that China’s determination of peaceful development though cutting troops is not necessarily translated into cutting military expenses. Especially in this high-tech era, military power has nothing to do with the total amount of soldiers. It is how advanced that technology applied to weaponry matters. Nevertheless, the announcement impressed the public that, at least, China is willing to be a peaceful developing country, rather than a threatening country purposely wage conflicts.

Besides, I think the message to cut troops can be treated as a signal to neighboring countries that keep having frictions with China over the last a few years. China always have several territory issues with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam. Sometimes the tension between China and these countries gets intense, even on the verge of war. The military parade indicated Chinese military power, and at the same time, troops’ cutting information showed that China has no intention to resort to wars to solve problems. The military parade and the troops’ cutting announcement combined, conveys an attitude that concessive in form, but aggressive in essence. That is, China owns the capability of solving problems depending on military power, but it voluntarily refuses to do that.