President of China Xi Jinping has warned that any foreign power attempting to bully China would “find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion people” in an anniversary speech delivered on 1 July.
As part of the celebrations to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) President Xi delivered a speech before the 70,000 people gathered in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. In the speech, Xi praised his party for its contributions to the development of the Chinese economy and promised to continue to expand upon the nation’s military.
Standing before a portrait of former leader and a founding member of the CCP Mao Zedong, Xi claimed “We have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will.” However, China is currently facing accusations of human rights abuses and condemnation for its treatment of Hong Kong and Taiwan. As a result, China’s foreign relations have reached a several decade low.
Concern over a possible military intervention in Taiwan continues to rise as Xi warned America over its ongoing supply of armaments to the Taiwanese government. In his speech, Xi once again promised to “restore” Taiwan to Chinese control. Although the CCP has never had direct control of Taiwan, it considers the island a province of China that must be unified with the mainland.
July 1 also marked the 24 anniversary of the handover of the former British colony Hong Kong to China, which triggered mass protests at the time. In an effort to prevent a repeat protest, thousands of police were deployed in Beijing and the crowd present at the celebrations was carefully vetted. The date also marks one year and one day since the national security law was implemented in Hong Kong. The law has continued to spark protests within the region and has brought mass condemnation from the international community and human right groups.
The CCP marked it’s centenary with mass celebrations. The event began with a display of military aircrafts including J-20 stealth fighters flying in formation, displaying flags, and releasing coloured smoke over Tiananmen Square. There was also a 56-cannon salute – the number of canons representing the 56 ethnic groups officially recognised in China.