The party’s centenary is symbolically important for Xi Jinping, China’s leader, who is almost certain to claim a third five-year term as party leader next year.
In a speech, he asserted that China would never have achieved its present-day prosperity and power without the party’s struggles against foreign oppression and domestic exploitation.
The celebrations made virtually no mention of China’s setbacks over the past decades of Communist Party rule — such as Mao’s Cultural Revolution and the deadly crackdown against protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Instead, the day’s stagecraft was focused on conveying an image of China as confident and secure while much of the world struggles to shake off the pandemic.
There was no military parade, unlike the enormous show of force that marked the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in 2019. But it featured a military flyover at Tiananmen at the opening, together with a 100-gun salute.
Organizers assembled a carefully picked crowd at Tiananmen Square — of party members, workers, students and others — to listen to Mr. Xi’s speech.