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China Restores 800 World War II Movies Ahead of Vast Military Parade

China's state-run film archive has been restoring hundreds of historical movies designed to drum up emotional patriotism surrounding World War II.
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BEIJING — China is set to mix missiles with movies this week to celebrate defeating Japan in World War II.

As well as a large-scale military parade through the streets of Beijing scheduled for Thursday, the country's state-run film archive has restored some 800 historical films to mark the 70th anniversary.

Of those restored during the eight-month process, 282 are being used to create a documentary about the defeat of its regional rival.

"Everyone who's seen this film feels a really strong sense of grief and indignation," film archive director Sun Xianghui told Reuters, speaking about the documentary. "But there's also our fighters bravely resisting, and a lot of our people bravely resisting as well."

She added that "this kind of film really arouses the spirit of patriotism for all of us Chinese."

The films show scenes from World War II, focusing on China’s victory over Japan and the efforts of the Communist Party which currently rules the country.

Image: Event marking 70th anniversary of end of WWII in Changha, China
Participants form the figure "70" and the Chinese characters "The Chinese people shall strive to become stronger" in front of a statue of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong during an event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Changsha, China, on Sunday.CHINA STRINGER NETWORK / Reuters

However, it was China’s Nationalist Party that was in power during World War II before its members fled to Taiwan following a subsequent civil war.

The documentary and restored films are part of a propaganda push to prepare the country for this week’s celebrations. Many of the entertainment programs on all of China's television channels this week will focus on highlighting anti-Japanese action during the war. A special television fictionalized dramatization series of the war against Japan will also run this month.

Some netizens have expressed their disapproval of the programs. Tian Yuxing, a user of China's Twitter-like Weibo, said: "They are using the Fascist way against the Fascists!"

Another user, who used a pseudonym, said: "I don't want to watch these [programs]." And another anonymous poster added: "It seems that China and North Korea have the same mother."

The key ceremony will be a huge military victory parade through central Beijing on Thursday, culminating at Tiananmen Square.

While China’s state-run media has been touting the credentials of those attending, the only notable world leaders' names on the guest list are Russian President Vladimir Putin and South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The U.S. will be represented by its ambassador to China, Max Baucus.

Beijing has already been getting ready for the huge parade with shutdowns across the center of the city.

Over the weekend, shops, restaurants and offices near Tiananmen Square, including the trendy nightlife district of Sanlitun, were ordered to close for a rehearsal of the parade.

Image: Chinese soldier during August 22 training session for parade
A female member of the Chinese People's Liberation Army attends a training session ahead of Thursday's parade.ChinaFotoPress / Getty Images

Many popular tourist attractions, including Tiananmen Gate and the Forbidden City, have already been shut and will not reopen until after the event is finished.

Cars are also being restricted on the roads to try to guarantee blue skies for the military parade, leading some people on Chinese social media to dub the clearer air "military parade blue."

More than 10,000 servicemen and servicewomen, about 500 military vehicles and nearly 200 aircraft took part in the rehearsal for the parade, according to Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua.

The last parade on this scale was in 2009, when China marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.