I do hear however a lot of bitter snickers and derision that to me seem way off point…
For example, in the U.S., I hear some Americans snicker at the parade saying, oh … but all that military might is useless outside China’s borders. Just how does China plan to take that force to Japan … or Philippines … or any place further than that: China’s navy will be outgunned and the PLA is doomed from the start.
To that, I answer, that is not the point. At least not yet. Irrespective of how far China can project its military power outside its borders offensively, the primary point of the military parade is to show its defensive posture … and that the Chinese government’s own assessment that China is safer than it has been in the last two hundred years is actually backed up by real military power.
The U.S. strategic planning of an air, sea, and land attack on the Chinese Mainland is well publicized in the last few years. One point I got from the parade is that if the U.S. truly wanted to give that a try – just as it had fancied dropping nuclear bombs on the Chinese border during the Korea War – the U.S. should now take into account that China is a lot more prepared than any time in recent history for foreign aggression. China has no intent of projecting military power all around the world … except to protect its growing global interests. To try to assess China’s military today in terms of global power projection is to miss the point of China’s military.
Second, I hear some Taiwanese compatriots complain what the point is of the celebration when Mainland’s “missiles” are still “pointed at” Taiwan. Some defense minister even went on record of saying that the main threat to Taiwan today is Mainland China …
As a “native Taiwanese” (本省人), I celebrate China’s keeping a military leash on Taiwan as a last resort. I love Taiwan. It is where I grew up, it is my homeland. Yet there are lines that must be drawn for people who don’t take responsibility … who will go to great length to threaten my homeland.
Today all around the world, few democratic governments are actually elected with a true majority … with the people’s true consent. Most get elected by a shaky plurality, with politicians playing petty partisan games.
If a green party member should gain control of Taiwan through a plurality of votes (that might come about because, say, of internal divisions among the Pan-Blue coalition) … and the nut decides to declare independence …. even if most Taiwanese people don’t want independence …
Should Beijing just stand helplessly by the side?
Even if – hypothetically – things should change … and a solid but slim majority does opt for independence … a large and core minority – me included – would still vouch to fight vigorously any such acts because we want ultimate reunification with the Mainland. There would be a legitimate full-scale civil war in Taiwan, and I’d want Beijing to back us, and to bring Taiwan back to the fold of Beijing.
So the fact of all those “missiles” “pointing at” Taiwan actually comforts me. It means the nation I see as China still exists, and has not forgotten about Taiwan. It means that the very nation which millions of Taiwanese would fight to defend will also fight for them when their homeland – their interests – get threatened … get hijacked by a pitiful few.
There are many things that cannot just be settled with polite talk (why has the U.S. carried out so many military campaigns around the world since the end of WWII, why has it not just resorted to polite talks … e.g. recently with Saddam, Gadaffi, Osama Bin Laden, Al quaeda, ISIS, etc.?). China’s unity is one of them. And China’s civil war technically has never ended in so many ways….
Guancha recently had an article describing that many Taiwanese has joined their Mainland compatriots in China’s V-Day Parade. I am glad to see many compatriots – including Lian Zhan – show up and wish I was personally there in Beijing. But there are still too many in Taiwan who are too scared or complacent or confused to speak up for China in this era of “freedom” hegemony.
Alas the world is an ever-changing place. China has overcome so many challenges in the last hundred years. Surely we can overcome today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Our compatriots who sacrificed their lives for the defense of China in her darkest hours will expect at least as much.
Much of the West has missed this golden opportunity to reach out to China.
Regardless: from the ashes of yesterday, let’s give a cheers to commemorate the long road China has traveled, and let’s give Double Cheers to a future that is truly bright and filled with infinite opportunities.