200,000 gather for 60th anniversary of People's Republic of China

200,000 gather for 60th anniversary of People's Republic of ChinaBeijing  - Some 200,000 people gathered Thursday in Beijing's Tiananmen Square for celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

The soldiers, civilians, top Communist Party members and invited guests were scheduled to watch China's first major military parade in 10 years, a series of spectacular performances and a landmark speech by President Hu Jintao.

Fang Fenghui, director of the military parade, said the People's Liberation Army planned to showcase 52 weapons systems including nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, drones, attack helicopters and early-warning aircraft.

In addition to the military parade, about 180,000 civilians and soldiers were chosen to perform a show with the three key themes of "ideology, achievements and future prospects."

Organizers said "ideology" would be represented by three mass formations bearing huge portraits and ideological slogans associated with Hu and former party leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin.

Some of the 60 floats in the civilian parade are designed to highlight China's achievements in such fields as science, industry, trade, agriculture, education and its use of the controversial "one- child" family-planning policy to limit its population to 1.3 billion people.

The city mobilized about 800,000 volunteers to assist hundreds of thousands of security guards, uniformed and plainclothed police, paramilitary units, anti-terrorist forces and the local People's Militia.

Thursday's celebrations were shown live by state-run China Central Television, whose broadcasts were interspersed with archive footage of historic events over the last 60 years.