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Stages of History | Tiananmen Square

Parades and Celebrations

Tiananmen Square was the center of national celebrations and mass gatherings. The annual National Day parade (October 1), major demonstrations of support for the government, and protests against China’s enemies were all held there.

Despite the regimented nature of these celebrations, differences in their tone and emphasis were apparent over the years, reflecting their times. Prior to the Cultural Revolution, events held on the Square had a joyous atmosphere, as shown by colorfully-clad children, flowers, balloons, and peace doves. (See 1954.) Parade floats emphasized a desire for material well-being and for a prosperous, stable society. (See 1964.) It was precisely this kind of desire, however, that Mao increasingly felt was detracting from his revolutionary ideal. Consequently, parades held during the Cultural Revolution had a distinct revolutionary cast: they were devoid of any color other than red, and they focused strictly on the revolution’s leader and its ideology. (See 1969.)

View parades from
1949 | 1954 | 1964 | 1969

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