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Scenes from China's extravagant military parade

Damir Sagolj | Reuters

China held a military parade that was nothing less than extravagant, in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2 (WWII).

Hundreds of ballistic missiles, tanks, amphibious assault vehicles, drones and other military equipment were paraded past the gathered leaders, veterans and guests.

Despite the grand scale, each step had been devised with meticulous attention to political symbolism, reinforcing a message of national unity under the Communist Party.

Here are some of the images captured during the showcase of China's military might.

—By Staff
Posted 3 September 2015

A military parade in China
Damir Sagolj | Reuters

A military band strikes up the national anthem, "The March of Volunteers," and a choir sings at Tiananmen Square at the beginning of the parade.

Patriotic songs popular among the Chinese have been sung at the ceremony.

Kevin Frayer | Getty Images

The Chinese army's J-10 fighter jets flies in formation across Tiananmen Square, decorating the scene with a 9.1 kilometer colored vapor trail.

China ordered more than 10,000 factories, power plants and steel mills in Beijing to close for most of the week to ensure cleaner air prior to the event.

Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images

The parade had 50 formations, including 11 troop formations, 27 equipment formations, 10 aircraft formations and 2 mobile formations carrying WWII veterans.

Lined up in a sidestreet were also several intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the DF-5B and the DF-31A as well as the DF-26 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM).

Stringer | Reuters

Paramilitary policemen and members of a gun salute team shout slogans at an oath-taking ceremony.

This is China's 15th military parade since the People's Republic of China (PRC) was founded in 1949.

Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon were the highest-profile dignitaries to take their seats on a podium in Tiananmen Square in the ancient heart of Beijing.

Over 30 world leaders were present at the parade marking Japan's WWII defeat 70 years ago.

Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images

Chinese veterans wave from a bus as the parade commences.

President Xi Jinping in his opening speech paid tribute to "the Chinese people who fought hard and defeated aggression" from Japan.

Jason Lee | Pool | Getty Images

Shen Jilan, 85, was first appointed to China's National People's Congress in 1954 and has since been elected 12 consecutive times as a member of parliament.

Wang Zhao | AFP | Getty Images

A WWII veteran salutes after giving a speech during an awards ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 2, 2015.

The veterans were awarded with medals presented by President Xi.

Damir Sagolj | Reuters

Birds are released as the parade comes to a close.

Emphasizing national peace, President Xi said: "No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation."