China closes factories to commemorate World War II Japan defeat

A military parade through Beijing showcased the country's military might

Hardeep Matharu
Thursday 03 September 2015 11:59 BST

Factories in China were shut to ensure clear skies as the country commemorated its defeat of Japan in World War Two with a parade showing off its military might.

The communist state closed factories hundreds of miles away from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to clear the normally smoggy metropolis.

China’s lavish parade saw more than 12,000 troops marching through the square, and a display of 200 aircraft, tanks and missiles. Advanced fighter jets and bombers also flew overhead.

However, during the parade, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced he would be cutting the country’s 2.3million-strong army by 300,000, although he gave no timeframe for the reduction in troops.

“Prejudice and discrimination, hatred and war can only cause disaster and pain,” he said.

“China will always uphold the path of peaceful development.”

Ahead of the event, the Chinese government said the parade was not aimed at today's Japan, but to remember the past and to remind the world of China's sacrifices during the conflict.

Five Chinese navy ships were seen sailing in the Bering Sea, off Alaska, for the first time, the US Pentagon said the day before the parade.

China’s defence ministry said the ships were there as part of routine drills and not aimed at any particular country.

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