Goose-stepping soldiers prepare for China's anniversary parade

Beijing (AFP) –


Lines of soldiers goose-step in formation across a military base an hour northwest of Beijing, meticulously preparing for the October 1 parade that will commemorate 70 years of Communist rule in China.

The troops, from the Chinese Honour Guard and the Chinese UN Peacekeeping squad, will form part of the highly coordinated procession for the 70th anniversary for the founding of the parade.

Honour Guard corporal, Wang Jianchuan, is one of the hundreds of soldiers training for the big day inside Beijing's Nankou Military base.

With his rifle strapped across his chest, he said that to participate in a military parade in his nation's capital has been an ambition for many years.

"This military parade for me, personally, is my childhood dream," he said.

"When I was a child watching TV, I thought that when I grew up I wanted to join the army and I must participate in a parade."

The soldiers are training on a street half of the length of the one they will face on October 1, the huge Chang?an Avenue that crosses the centre of Beijing and cuts through Tiananmen Square.

Tuesday's procession is expected to show the army's most advanced weaponry, including 160 aircraft, in a bid to drum up patriotic enthusiasm.

"I feel very proud to participate in the 70th anniversary of the military parade, and my family supports me a lot," said Lu Cunyuan, a staff sergeant of the Chinese UN Peacekeeping forces.

Sergeant Ma Yanfei says she "can't wait" for the anniversary celebration to come so she can march.

"I am not nervous, but I am very much looking forward to walking through Tiananmen Square on October 1 to promote our national and military power," she said.