Friday, October 1, 1999 Published at 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
China celebrates communist anniversary
The cream of China's forces were drafted in for the occasion
More than half a million Chinese soldiers and civilians have marched through the centre of Beijing in a massive parade to celebrate 50 years of the People's Republic of China.
Overhead the air force's most modern jet fighters streaked through the air trailing red, blue and gold smoke.
The minutely choreographed procession, reminiscent of those held in Moscow at the height of the Cold War, also included thousands of children in brightly coloured uniforms and a series of floats highlighting China's technological achievements.
It was the first such parade to take place in Tiananmen Square since the crushing of the pro-democracy movement there 10 years ago.
He declared that China's own form of socialism was the only way to ensure the country's progress.
Years of preparation and millions of dollars have gone into the celebrations. The government has declared a week-long holiday to mark the anniversary.
Amongst the military hardware rolled out for the procession was China's newest nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, the Dongfeng-31, capable of hitting the continental US.
Correspondents say the Chinese leadership is hoping that the anniversary will generate an upswell of national pride, distracting attention from charges of official corruption and complaints about unemployment and falling incomes.
Mr Jiang made his speech atop the Gate of Heavenly Peace from where, 50 years earlier, Chairman Mao proclaimed the foundation of the People's Republic.
The celebrations are taking place amid a huge security operation.
Residents kept away
The authorities shut businesses along the parade route, padlocked manhole covers and ordered hotels to clear all rooms overlooking the parade.
Police have been ordered to turn back anyone from outside the capital, anyone hoping to present petitions, and the mentally ill.
Officials are also on the lookout for followers of the banned Falun Gong sect.
On Thursday Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji formally launched the 50th anniversary celebrations calling for a with a strong call for dissent to be crushed.
Hong Kong protest
In Hong Kong, scuffles broke out between police and a small group of pro-democracy demonstrators, as the territory held a simple flag-raising ceremony to mark China National Day.
The event included a march-past by People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers and a fly-past by five helicopters.
The former British colony reverted to Chinese rule three years ago.
The pro-democracy Frontier party said it would hold a demonstration later in the day against human rights abuses by the Communist Party.