Missiles and pyrotechnics: China set to celebrate 70th anniversary

Beijing's massive 70th-anniversary celebrations for the People's Republic of China on Tuesday will be tightly choreographed and controlled. The Communist Party has made a few details about the event public. Here is what we know:

Xi speech

President Xi Jinping, who is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party, will open the celebration with a speech.

Xi is the country's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, who founded the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, at the end of a civil war that drove nationalists out to Taiwan.

The current Chinese leader bowed three times in front of a statue of Mao at Tiananmen Square and paid respects to his embalmed remains on Monday, according to state media.

Xi is likely to address familiar themes during his speech, such as his vision of the "Chinese dream" of "rejuvenation" to restore the country's former glory. 

(Photograph:Reuters)

Tanks, missiles and drones

The anniversary will be a chance for China to show the world its growing military might, with a phalanx of weapons and 15,000 soldiers parading across Tiananmen Square.

Tanks, bombers, a supersonic drone and a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States are expected to be among nearly 600 pieces of military hardware and 160 aircraft on display.

Xi is expected to watch from the south entrance of the Forbidden City, the same spot where Mao proclaimed the founding of the PRC.

(Photograph:AFP)

Doves and floats

Soldiers will not be the only ones marching on Tuesday.

Some 100,000 civilians will walk along the parade route, along with 70 floats highlighting the country's accomplishments. 

A replica of a space rocket has been spotted sticking out from behind a wall around the parking lot of the Workers Stadium along with other floats.

Numeric symbols will feature prominently, with the organisers releasing 70,000 doves and 70,000 balloons.

In the evening, artists will take over Tiananmen for a performance that will be capped by a fireworks show.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Smog and accidents

There are some things that the image-conscious Communist Party can't control.

Authorities usually manage to clear Beijing's notoriously polluted sky by temporarily shutting down factories ahead of major events.

But thick, toxic smog has blanketed the city in recent days and the forecast for Tuesday looks grim.

Chinese media outlets were given instructions to avoid giving too much prominence to bad news stories ahead of the anniversary.

It took 24 hours for local media to report news of a factory fire than left 19 people dead in eastern China and a major road crash that killed 36 others on the weekend a highly unusual delay.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Restricted event

Most ordinary citizens hoping to catch a glimpse of the parade will likely have to settle for watching it on live television, as security will be tight.

The procession will also be shown in 70 movie theatres across the country.

Roads will be closed in a massive perimeter spanning several blocks around Tiananmen Square.

Authorities banned the flying of kites and homing pigeons ahead of the event.

(Photograph:Reuters)

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