"For the whole country, the meaning of a parade on National Dayhas gone beyond the military field," said Maj. Gen. Peng Guangqian, a senior expert with the PLA's Military Science Academy.
"A grand parade will show a transparent image to demonstrate China's military achievement and modernization in the international community," Peng said.
"A military parade will give a lively lesson in national defense education to civilians. More importantly, it will provide an immeasurable inspiration to the army," Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan also from the academy told Xinhua Tuesday.
Luo said the latest home-made equipment will be unveiled to the public in this year's parade to represent the PLA's achievement acquired in a new era transforming from mechanization to information-savvy forces.
China has accelerated its military development since the 1980s with a long-claimed policy to pursue the nation's own defense. Permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a holder of nuclear weapons, China has always promised not to use nuclear weapons for first strikes.
Defense Ministry spokesman Hu Changming reiterated Tuesday the no-first-strike defensive strategy.
To escort merchant vessels to sail through waters off Somalia against surging piracy, China sent a task force of three warships to the Gulf of Aden. The warships and crews are not mandated, the Defense Ministry said, to actively engage in fire exchange with pirates or landing missions.
The task force has received overwhelming support from domestic communities which suggested that China may realize a major shift of its military strategy from coastline defense to global engagement.
Other extreme comments even pledged to pursue all the country's interests in every place in the world where Chinese exist. A defense white paper issued on Tuesday has insisted that the Navy will stick to the coastline defense policy.
Li Yaqiang, a professor with the Navy's academic institute, said that sending warships away from the coastline was an effort to deal with unconventional threat and cooperation with other navies to share escort responsibilities.
Maj. Gen. Peng also cooled down the scenario to realize a blue-water navy by sending the escort flotilla.
"There will be a long way for China to build up a deep-sea navy which is a complicated project for any armed force."
"Even if China has its own aircraft carrier in the future, the Navy will still be a defensive arm to maintain regional stability and will not conduct a global cruise."
Critics on the necessity to spend tax-payers money in organizing a large-scale parade amid economic depression still exist. But an online debate on www.huanqiu.com showed that so far 85 percent of about 4,300 Chinese netizens hoped that the parade will increase Chinese solidification and national morale.
"A successful parade will bring encouragement and confidence for Chinese people to overcome difficulties under a global financial crisis," a netizen named Xiaoxiang said in the debate. Many others are looking forward to the new equipment and weapons probably to be shown in the parade.
Col. Cai Huailie with the PLA's Headquarters of the General Staff promised that the parade on Oct. 1 will be conducted in a solemn, enthusiastic but frugal way.
"Although it will involve a broader range of arms and more new weapons, the ceremony will be kept simple to cut costs," Cai said.
(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2009)