Just days before the United States celebrated the 245th anniversary of the country's founding, the Chinese Communist Party observed its 100th anniversary on July 1, marking the day with extravagant public displays decorating the country's urban centers along with a ceremony held in Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium. The overall messaging was of strength and achievement - slogans like "Follow The Party" shined in neon from the sides of skyscrapers, and the Party itself touted its many infrastructure projects that it had completed just in time for the July 1 celebration.
While the relationship between China and the West deteriorates, American outlets used the July 1 celebrations as a launching pad for criticisms of the Chinese government. They also interpreted the Party's celebration of its accomplishments as self-aggrandizing posturing to ensure its people continue to view it as the rightful leaders of China within its one-party system.
Xi Jinping also delivered remarks in Tiananmen Square, clapping back at the West's veiled threats and "bullying" towards China, stating China has never "oppressed or subjugated" the people of other nations. He continued to set the tone for the centenary, praising the Party's role in alleviating poverty and improving China's position in the global stage - even as it becomes more alienated among world powers wary of its rise. Read more on the future of the bilateral relationship in Washington's Muddled China Policy, from Christopher McNally is a Professor of Political Economy at Chaminade University.
China announced plans to send its first manned mission to Mars in 2033, paralleling U.S. ambitions to send a crew to the Red Planet in the 2030s and intensifying the space race of the modern era. "China's Mars plan envisages fleets of spacecraft shuttling between Earth and Mars and the major development of its resources," said head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, Wang Xiaojun.
The country's latest space ambitions come after much success over the last few months, including the landing of a robotic rover on Mars and sending astronauts to their unfinished space station just last week.
China's long-term Mar's plan also includes building a permanently inhabited base on the planet. Once a base is built, China is aiming for large-scale Earth-to-Mars cargo missions. To attain these lofty goals, they must also learn how to utilize the planet's resources to sustain life and develop technology to get astronauts back to Earth. Along with China's Mars aspirations, they also plan to send robotic missions to asteroids and Jupiter, and establish a base at the Moon's south pole.
Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China every week, while adding a dose of historical perspective.