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To see what China's military parade represents, look at the guest list

Leaders from China and other countries watch a military parade from the stands in Tiananmen Square on Sept. 3. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

BEIJING -- National events, particularly those that aim to bring prestige to authoritarian regimes, have long been a good way of understanding political realities. The massive military parade held by China's Communist Party leadership in central Beijing on Sept. 3 is the latest example.

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