The defense community is closely watching the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) military parade, celebrating the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, not to ogle at fancy equipment, but rather to see weapons systems the regime has kept hidden from the world’s eyes until now.
CCP leaders played up this element of the parade, stating ahead of time that 84 percent of the vehicles and weapons will be shown publicly for the first time. This statement seems to have been made intentionally.
Domestically, the CCP has been playing up a false version of history—one where it played the leading role in defeating the Japanese empire. In reality, it was the Kuomintang, which is now the government of Taiwan, that did most of the fighting and dying for China. When Japan surrendered in China, they surrendered to the U.S. Marines, on behalf of what is now Taiwan’s government.
Outside of China, however, this propaganda didn’t go far. For most countries, it’s a show of force meant for shock and awe, and most coverage in the international media has focused on its weapons previously only seen in satellite images or through blurry amateur cameras.
And it’s likely this is exactly what the CCP’s leaders wanted.
The fact is the Chinese regime is planning to sell most of the weapons now on display—and what better way to let global buyers know than to nudge every major news outlet in the world, and let them promote their strengths on its behalf.
Jack Midgley, a defense expert at Deloitte, has it right. He told Reuters the parade was to “demonstrate China has achieved first-world status with its military, and to display its products for foreign buyers.”