A lavish parade of military firepower may be Beijing's latest means of reinforcing its legitimacy in the eyes of mainland citizens after recent events, including a severe stock market plunge, shook trust in the government.
"The parade represents not only a bold show of Chinese nationalism, military might and bilateral relationships, but also a necessary distraction from the economic slowdown, the recent explosion in Tianjin, ongoing environmental concerns, and corruption at home," commented Lauren Dickey, research associate at the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), in a recent note.
On Thursday, China's capital city will hold its first-ever military parade to commemorate Japan's World War II surrender, or the "Commemoration of Seventieth Anniversary of Victory of Chinese People's Resistance against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War" as Beijing calls it.
In the past, military parades were typically reserved to celebrate anniversaries of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Battle tanks, helicopter gunships, fighter jets and ballistic missiles—all domestically made—will pass through Tiananmen Square, along with more than 12,000 troops, including foreign contingents from Russia and Mongolia.
The country will come to a stand-still, with flights cancelled, manufacturing halted and financial markets shut until Friday.