Friday, July 1, 2011

China's Communists celebrate 90th birthday

A flag of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is seen during an event to celebrate the upcoming 90th anniversary of the founding of the party, at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - CHINA on Friday marks the 90th birthday of its ruling Communist Party, which first emerged as a tiny grouping of intellectuals and now presides over the world's second-largest economy.

The country's top leaders are due to attend a glitzy ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing amid a nationwide propaganda blitz, but experts warn the future is less certain for the one-party regime.

China, which likes to mark official anniversaries with pomp, has already released a star-studded patriotic film, launched a flagship high-speed rail link, and broadcast multiple revolutionary-style shows on television.

The nation's first aircraft carrier could also go on sea trials on Friday, according to a Hong Kong Commercial Daily report that cited unnamed military sources - a move that would garner worldwide attention on the anniversary.

The CCP was established in July 1921 in Shanghai as the brainchild of a dozen intellectuals. It took power in China in 1949 after defeating the rival Nationalists in a long and bloody civil war.

The country was then plunged into nearly 30 years of chaos due to policies enacted by revolutionary leader Mao Zedong that triggered political purges, famine and social upheavals in which millions died. After Mao's death in 1976, Deng Xiaoping took over and launched a period of reforms that transformed China into the economic powerhouse it is today. -- AFP

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