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A military parade is a display not only of state power, but also of social order. Indeed, it is an apotheosis (or dystopia) of social order, reducing a dynamic, diverse citizenry into columns of soldiers, marching in unison, dressed in matching fatigues, saluting their commander, embodying the monolithic nation. A military parade is a fantasy fit for kings—a live performance of what James Scott calls “seeing like a state.” If only citizens marched and saluted like soldiers, thinks the king to himself. If only society could be arrayed in perfect rows and matching colors. If only the stock market would rise steadily like a flock of a thousand pigeons. If only history of and since 1945 were the story of how fascism was defeated and world peace was protected. —John Delury in ChinaFile, Sept 2nd 2015

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