BEIJING – Brief looks at China's massive parade Thursday commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II:
Shortly before the military hardware lumbered past Tiananmen Square, Chinese President Xi Jinping was his own parade, rallying the long line of assembled troops from the sunroof of his limo as it drove past the waiting procession.
Dressed in a slate-gray, high-buttoned suit of the sort worn by Chinese leaders going back to Mao Zedong, and Sun Yat-sen before him, Xi cut a rock-ribbed figure as he called out to the troops though four microphones mounted in front of him atop the roof of his Chinese-made Red Flag limousine, its red flag snapping in the wind.
Every few moments, he called out "Greetings, Comrades," to which assembled troops responded "Greetings, leader!" Xi alternated that greeting with "Thanks for your efforts!" to which soldiers responded "Serving the people!"
Previous Chinese leaders have used the sunroof-and-microphone setup to review troops, including Xi's predecessor, Hu Jintao, during a 2009 parade marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The Red Flag later became the official car for conveying foreign dignitaries during visits to China.
An order by the Public Security Office shut down the parade route through the heart of Beijing from midday Wednesday until early afternoon on Thursday, after the parade ended. This meant scores of high-rise buildings along the city's main east-west axis that passes between Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City were off-limits to staff, including the building where The Associated Press has its offices. Many offices chose to close all of Wednesday and Thursday.
The AP had to temporarily relocate to a hotel outside the security zone for the hours when the shutdown was in force.