The Latest: China celebrates 70 years of Communist rule

October 1, 2019 GMT
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Participants wave flags during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Trucks carrying weapons including a nuclear-armed missile designed to evade U.S. defenses rumbled through Beijing as the Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with a parade Tuesday that showcased China's ambition as a rising global force. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
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Participants wave flags during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Trucks carrying weapons including a nuclear-armed missile designed to evade U.S. defenses rumbled through Beijing as the Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with a parade Tuesday that showcased China's ambition as a rising global force. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China (all times local):

8 p.m.

Beijing’s historic Tiananmen Square is awash in lights for an outdoor gala celebration of 70 years of Communist rule in China.

With a smiling President Xi Jingping looking on, the festivities began at 8 p.m. on Tuesday with a fireworks show over the square and along the long thoroughfare that passes by it.

Thousands of participants performed a synchronized dance, holding up lighted boards to make various formations including the Chinese flag.

The evening celebration followed a daytime parade in which China showcased both its military and its achievements since the Communist Party came to power.

Tiananmen Square is both where leader Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and where pro-democracy protesters rallied in 1989 before being quashed by the military in a bloody crackdown.


7 p.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump has tweeted his congratulations to China on 70 years of Communist Party rule.

The U.S. leader wrote “Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China!”

Trump has generally spoken favorably about Chinese leader Xi Jinping, though relations between the two countries have deteriorated since he took office.

Trump has launched a trade war with China and his administration has been critical of China’s repression of Uighur Muslims and other minorities.

Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong protested on Tuesday against mainland Chinese control.


6 p.m.

A Hong Kong police official says a pro-democracy protester was shot when an officer opened fire with his revolver during clashes Tuesday. It was the first time a protester has been shot, in an escalation of the monthslong unrest that has rocked the city.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release information, confirmed the incident in the Tsuen Wan area but couldn’t immediately provide further details. 

A video of the incident, shot by the City University Student Union and shared on social media, shows a dozen black-clad protesters hurling objects at a group of riot police pursuing them. One officer, who was surrounded, drew his revolver and pointed it at the group. He fired and one protester collapsed on the street while others fled.


4 p.m.

A military parade marking the 70th anniversary of Communist rule in China wasn’t open to the general public, but many gathered outside Beijing’s train station to watch military jets fly overhead.

Some waved Chinese flags and cheered when the planes flew by Tuesday, leaving colorful trails of smoke.

Mo Can from Shanghai was excited to see the planes as she exited the station. She said, “the rainbow-like smoke is fantastic,” showing videos she shot on her smart phone.

Tao Xingui said he read about weaponry on apps such as “Study and Strengthen the Nation” as he rode the train from Jiangxi province. He called the army’s tactical missile force his favorite part, saying “it’s a good example to show our great national power and make our voice heard on international platforms.”


3:45 p.m.

Riot police have fired tear gas to disperse pro-democracy protesters in several districts in Hong Kong amid multiple rallies challenging the Chinese Communist Party as it marks its 70th year of rule.

Dozens of police officers formed a security cordon, backed by a water cannon truck, to prevent protesters from advancing to Beijing’s liaison office in the city.

Battles between hundreds of black-clad protesters and police occurred in multiple locations, turning streets into battlefields. Police fired multiple rounds of tear gas at the Wong Tai Sin, Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun areas as protesters hurled gas bombs, bricks and other objects in their direction.

Police said protesters used corrosive fluid in Tuen Mun, injuring officers and some reporters.

The city was already under tight security, and more subway stations were shuttered as the violence spread.


2:50 p.m.

Protesters are paving the streets of central Hong Kong with fake bank notes they usually use at funerals, tossing wads of them into the air as they march in black.

The notes, many marked “Hell Bank Note,” were a vivid expression of what many protesters say feels like a day of mourning for them as Communist leaders in Beijing celebrate 70 years in power.

Like outsized confetti, tens of thousands of the notes covered a broad thoroughfare where a vast and swelling crowd tens of thousands strong marched, shouting “Fight for freedom.”

Protesters brought shopping bags full of giant wads of the notes and passed them out in the crowd.

Marcher Ray Luk said as he and his mother tossed notes into the air, “The leaders who won’t listen to our voice, this is for them.”

In the crowd, a protester also blew a bamboo trumpet traditionally heard at funerals and weddings, leading the crowd as it sang “Glory to Hong Kong,” an anthem of the protests.


2:20 p.m.

Multiple rallies are taking place in Hong Kong in defiance of a police ban as pro-democracy protesters vent their anger at China’s central government, which they say is chipping away at freedoms in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

The biggest march took place in central Hong Kong, with thousands clad in black covering a broad thoroughfare and chanting slogans denouncing China’s Communist Party as it marked its 70th year in power Tuesday. Some carried Chinese flags defaced with a black cross.

King Chan, a 57-year-old homemaker who came out to protest with her husband, said, “They are squeezing our necks so we don’t breathe the air of freedom.”

Several smaller rallies are taking place in further districts. In at least three areas, riot police chased off hundreds of protesters, but the demonstrators later regrouped.


12:30 p.m.

A colorful parade with 70 floats and 100,000 participants highlighting communist China’s achievements is following a military parade in Beijing on the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule.

Large groups marchers waved Chinese flags Tuesday as they paraded briskly by a reviewing stand with Chinese leaders and guests across from Tiananmen Square.

Each of China’s previous leaders starting with Mao Zedong was honored. One group rode bicycles wearing clothing common decades ago. Later groups highlighted the opening of the economy in the 1980s, the return of Hong Kong and Macao to China in the late 1990s and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

China is staging a major ceremony to mark the day that Mao pronounced the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949, from the imposing Tiananmen Gate.


12:25 p.m.

Residents of all ages dressed in black are streaming outdoors in Hong Kong to protest Chinese rule over the semi-autonomous city.

Police banned rallies Tuesday amid fear of chaos on China’s National Day.

In a black T-shirt and dark jeans, 40-year-old Bob Wong said his clothing expressed “mourning” over “the death of Hong Kong’s future.”

Black-clad Yvonne Ng, 67, fumed over the arrest of many young people in the months-long protests. “We’re not celebrating National Day,” she said as she ambled through the popular Causeway Bay shopping district.

The popular LIHKG online chat forum used by protesters has been inaccessible on mobile phones since morning, believed to have been hacked to prevent communication by protesters as have been done previously.


11:25 a.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has praised his country’s decades-long friendship with Beijing in a message sent to Chinese President Xi Jinping to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Communist rule in China.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that Kim in the message said North Korea would “always stand by” China on the path of “defending and glorifying socialism.”

The agency said Kim said relations between Pyongyang and Beijing would develop “with added vitality day by day in line with the needs of the new era and the common desire of the peoples of the two countries.”

Kim has held five summits with Xi since last year as he cemented ally Beijing as a major player in a U.S.-led push to resolve the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.


11:10 a.m.

China’s paramilitary police are maintaining a strong presence outside Hong Kong as the nation marks 70 years of Communist Party rule.

Dozens of armored personnel carriers and other army-green vehicles of the People’s Armed Police were parked outside Shenzhen Bay Stadium on Tuesday, similar to when the military police contingent first came to the city bordering Hong Kong in August.

Security guards were starting to erect fencing ahead of a planned fireworks show in the evening to celebrate the anniversary. Civilians strolled the public areas outside the stadium unperturbed, some watching a live broadcast on their smartphones of a military parade being held in Beijing.

The presence of the paramilitary police has fueled speculation that China could send them across the border to quell pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.


11 a.m.

China’s military has shown off a new hypersonic ballistic nuclear missile believed capable of breaching all existing anti-missile shields deployed by the U.S. and its allies.

The vehicle-mounted DF-17 was among weapons displayed Tuesday in a massive military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese state.

Some analysts have called the missile a threat to regional stability because its speed allows far less time to determine whether to fire nuclear weapons in response.

That speed and its use of multiple independently maneuverable re-entry vehicles to deliver its warheads makes it far more difficult to detect and intercept.

The DF-17′s hypersonic glide vehicle technology also permits it to fly at a much lower altitude just prior to delivering its warhead, further frustrating attempts to detect and intercept.


10:35 a.m.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is riding in an open-top limousine past rows of troops and military equipment in a major review to mark 70 years of Communist rule in China.

He shouted “Hello comrades” as his fast-moving car passed each group of troops, along with parked armored vehicles, rows of missiles, and other arrayed weapons. The troops shouted back “Hello chairman.” Their heads turned in unison as Xi and his black car passed.

At other times he shouted “Good work comrades” or “Hard work comrades,” and they responded “Serve the People.”

A long section of a main street in Beijing has been closed for the event, with access to buildings along the route closed.

Building the country’s military strength is a major part of Xi’s effort to make China a global power.


10:15 a.m.

A grand ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of communist rule in China has begun in militaristic fashion with marching troops, a military band and an artillery gun salute.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and former leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao joined other officials Tuesday high up on the gate where Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949.

Xi Is addressing a crowd of thousands after a flag-raising ceremony. The event at Tiananmen Square is open only to invited guests but is being broadcast live nationwide.


9:45 a.m.

Hong Kong’s acting leader has said at a reception marking 70 years of communist rule in China that his city has become “unrecognizable” because of the violent protests consuming the semiautonomous Chinese territory.

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said Tuesday that the Hong Kong government has shown the highest sincerity by kicking off a series of community dialogues last week and will use new thinking to address the deep-rooted social issues contributing to protester grievances.

Cheung was representing city leader Carrie Lam, who led a delegation to Beijing for a major military parade and festivities to mark the anniversary.

The government has mounted tight security around the city ahead of rallies planned in multiple locations. Protest posters call for October 1 to be marked as “A Day of Grief.”


9:15 a.m.

China’s ruling Communist Party is preparing to celebrate its 70th anniversary in power with a parade showcasing the country’s economic growth and newest weapons.

Tuesday’s event marks the anniversary of the Oct. 1, 1949, announcement of the founding of the People’s Republic of China by then-leader Mao Zedong following a civil war.

The parade follows President Xi Jinping’s promise to allow Hong Kong to manage its own affairs despite anti-government protests that have embarrassed the ruling party ahead of the year’s highest-profile propaganda event.

The parade through central Beijing is due to include 15,000 troops and more than 160 aircraft.

Chinese news reports say it might include a new long-range nuclear-armed missile and a supersonic drone aircraft. Military spokespeople have declined to give details.


8:25 a.m.

Pro-Beijing protesters have scuffled briefly with a small group of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as the latter began to march on the 70th anniversary of the founding of communist China.


The 7:30 a.m. march Tuesday was the start of what is expected to be a day of protests in the semiautonomous Chinese city.

The protesters marched as the government was holding an annual ceremony to mark the anniversary of Communist Party rule.

Police lined up to try to keep the two groups apart, but some minor scuffles ensued. Two pro-Beijing protesters were arrested.

The Hong Kong protests come as China prepares to mark the anniversary in Beijing with a major military parade and festivities.