Jeffrey LewisDF-31As on Parade

Update | 11:39 am 2 October I apologize that I cannot figure out how to turn off the autoplay. Am posting the code in the comments — suggestions appreciated.


Well, the PRC October 1 National Day Parade came and went with the requisite silly hats and, of course, missiles.

Here is a nice video of the DF-31A TELs rolling down Chang’an Avenue.

(The caption reads “东31甲核导弹方队” which I make out to be “A Block of DF-31A Nuclear Missiles” — CCTV is translating 方队 as square array which is sort of turgid.)

It is very interesting — the announcer immediately goes into the standard language about no-first use when the strategic missiles role out. A little boring, but the right thing to say.

In addition to the video from CCTV, Xinhua has a gallery of 26 images, including a couple of money-shots of a DF-31A TEL.

The parade basically conformed to the rehearsal — five missiles were the DF-11, DF-15, DH-10, DF-21C and the DF-31A. Here is the description from Xinhua:

Among the most eye-catching weapons paraded were five types of missiles of the Second Artillery Force (SAF), China’s core strategic deterrent, including the “trump card” nuclear-capable intercontinental missiles.

The gigantic weapons in camouflage colors rolled by on long-bed trucks, triggering cheers from spectators.

The SAF’s land-based cruise missiles also made their debut at the once-in-a-decade military parade. The conventional cruise missile is able to perform long-range low altitude precision strikes. Also on rare public display were the SAF’s three types of conventional missiles.

During the cold war, China’s survival was threatened by nuclear bombs from the world’s super powers.

To protect the country from nuclear threats, break nuclear monopoly and maintain national security, China began to develop strategic nuclear and missile weapons in the 1950s. The SAF was established in 1966.

Over the past 40 years, the SAF has grown into a lean and effective strategic force with both nuclear and conventional missiles, capable of both land-based strategic nuclear counterattacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles.

You are probably thinking, “That’s actually written in clear, concise English.” China is changing. If, however, like me, you remain nostalgic for the days of Chinglish, Xinhua did include the story China National Day parade crescendoed when nuclear weapon appears. (more)


  1. Carl Vehse (History)

    “The gigantic weapons in camouflage colors rolled by on long-bed trucks,…”

    … also in camouflage colors, with whitewall tires, which match the white gloves of the two saluting soldiers.

    BTW, in the side view of the trucks, are the tires flexing very much from the supposed multi-ton load?

  2. blowback (History)

    OK, the English has got a lot better but when are they going to dump those white-wall tyres. They are just so naff!

  3. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    I have always loved the white walls.

    I would assume the TELs are parading empty.

  4. Captain Canuck

    Those whitewalls are the…oh wait, that’s inappropriate.

    Am I the only one thinking that spinner wheels would really take those TELs to the next level?

  5. Muskrat

    When I was doing START grunt work at State, there was always a little fuss when Russia wanted SS-25 or SS-27 TELs in a Moscow parade. They had to be declared “in transit” between two other listed facilities, since they weren’t supposed to just roam around Russia. Somebody always wanted to complain that they weren’t REALLY in transit, and this was a transparent flouting of the rules. They usually got ignored.

  6. bradley laing (History)
  7. kme

    They should complete the t-bird (TEL-bird?) look with tailfins… in camo, of course!

  8. RAJ47

    “The parade basically conformed to the rehearsal — five missiles were the DF-11, DF-15, DF-21C and the DF-31A.”
    Now the maths is all wrong instead of Chinglish. Or is it your maths thats wrong, Jeffrey?

  9. RAJ47

    shameful act. please publish my comments and give credit for pointing out the mistake.
    have some integrity when on the net. thats why your readers(commentators) number is dwindling!!!

  10. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Dear RAJ47:

    This is not my day job. I am often busy. Comment moderating takes some time.

    I appreciate you pointing out mistakes, but I don’t appreciate you being a jerk.

    If you don’t like it, go someplace else. If you can’t find the strength to be polite, I will ban you from the comments.


  11. Vicenzo (History)

    I’m with the Cap’n… some spinners on those bad boys would look dope. They spinnin’!

  12. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    <object width=‘500’ height=‘400’> <param name=‘movie’ value=‘’&#062;

    </param> <param name=‘allowScriptAccess’ value=‘always’></param> <param name=‘wmode’ value=‘window’></param>

    <param name=‘flashvars’ value=‘id=VIDE1254369047000286&site=’>

    </param> <embed flashvars=‘id=VIDE1254369047000286&site=’ src=‘; type=‘application/x-shockwave-flash’ width=‘500’ height=‘400’ allowFullScreen=‘true’ wmode=‘window’ allowScriptAccess=‘always’></embed>


  13. Jun Okumura (History)

    Every time I open your blog, jeffrey, this Chinese video clip starts going full blast—automatically. Has anyone else hdad this problem. If not, I’ll blame it on Windows Vista.

  14. RAJ47

    This is not my day job either. If you had corrected your script means you had read my comments and after that it takes only a click of a mouse to moderate the comments. This is the seventh time (including twice on twitter)I had to remind you for publishing my comments on various topics. There are two comments (on other topics) absolutely polite ones which have not seen light of the day till now.
    You are making fun of the use of bad Enlish by Chinese media (English is not their language) but can not accept your mistakes being pointed out.
    You call names to others e.g. moron, jerk, silly hats etc but can’t accept criticism.
    You are threatening to ban me from commenting. Why? Just because I point out your mistakes? Just because I don’t agree with you sometimes?
    Who needs the strength? You decide, I will accept your verdict.

  15. Another Jeff (History)

    Seriously- I click on ACW, and think my computer had contracted some sort of Chinese virus. I almost called our IT people to report an attack!

  16. Angie

    I did a “view source” and noticed you have a typo: <param name=‘autoplay’ value=‘false’> </pram> Maybe that’s it?

  17. raghar (History)

    That was interesting Internet prank.

    Have you tried to close that param tag?

  18. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    I tied closing the param tag — to no avail.

  19. mike (History)

    dissappointed that the rims do not spin. love the white side walls.