Guess Who’s Coming to China’s Military Parade
by Gordon G. Chang
Tuesday, Beijing revealed the list of countries participating in its military parade, scheduled for September 3rd, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Japan in the Second World War.
Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Pakistan, Serbia, Tajikistan, and Russia will each send about 75 marchers. Afghanistan, Cambodia, Fiji, Laos, Vanuatu, and Venezuela will contribute about seven troops each. The 17 countries, Beijing said, will chip in about 1,000 soldiers.
This is an odd group celebrating the end of World War II in the Pacific. Fiji remained untouched in the struggle, but can at least say it’s in the Pacific. Belarus, on the other hand, resides in Europe. It did not exist 70 years ago. When Japanese diplomats signed instruments of surrender on the deck of the Missouri, the territory that now comprises Belarus was part of the Soviet Union.
The Soviets fought the Japanese empire—for about a week. Moscow entered the war on August 8, 1945, two days after the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and one day before the destruction of Nagasaki. You would think President Vladimir Putin would be embarrassed by the festivities in Beijing, which have the potential of highlighting his country’s meagre participation.
And his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, is playing an even riskier game. China suffered more than any other country at the hands of Japan during the war—perhaps 20 million dead—but Xi’s People’s Republic of China, ruled by the Communist Party, has little right to take credit for the victory seven decades ago.