Members of a Chinese military honor guard stand at attention during a rehearsal before a large parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Chinese Communist Party leader and President Xi Jinping on Monday renewed his government
Members of a Chinese military honor guard stand at attention during a rehearsal before a large parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Chinese Communist Party leader and President Xi Jinping on Monday renewed his government's commitment to allowing Hong Kong to manage its own affairs amid continuing anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
PHOTO: Mark Schiefelbein/AP
Now playing
02:30
China shows off military in anniversary parade
Now playing
02:23
Tropical activity poses threat in Southern Hemisphere
PHOTO: Indonesia Search and Rescue Agency
Now playing
02:09
Woman who is trapped underneath earthquake's rubble captured on video
Barrie
Barrie's aunt speaks about how the police brought her the news about the death of her nephew Ibrahima.
PHOTO: VTM
Now playing
01:26
Aunt of Black man who died after arrest in Belgium: We want justice
screengrab US social media
screengrab US social media
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
04:35
Tech companies ban Trump, but not other problematic leaders
Now playing
01:23
Rejected Tintin cover breaks world record for comic book art
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13:  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presides over the vote to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump for the second time in little over a year in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted to impeach Trump on the charge of "incitement of insurrection," 232-197 after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol where Congress was working to certify the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden on January 6. 10 Republicans voted to impeach. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presides over the vote to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump for the second time in little over a year in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted to impeach Trump on the charge of "incitement of insurrection," 232-197 after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol where Congress was working to certify the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden on January 6. 10 Republicans voted to impeach. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Now playing
02:35
How the world is reacting to Trump's second impeachment
Indonesia sriwijay air crash search for victims wang pkg intl hnk vpx_00000920.png
Indonesia sriwijay air crash search for victims wang pkg intl hnk vpx_00000920.png
Now playing
02:21
Family members wait in anguish as search for crash victims continues
africa china coronavirus vaccine diplomacy lu stout pkg vpx _00025522.png
africa china coronavirus vaccine diplomacy lu stout pkg vpx _00025522.png
PHOTO: CCTV
Now playing
03:09
How China is hoping to use its vaccine as a diplomatic tool
PHOTO: CIRO FUSCO/AFP/ANSA/AFP via Getty Images
Now playing
00:38
Huge sinkhole appears in Italian hospital parking lot
TOPSHOT - Rescue workers carry recovered debris at the port in Jakarta on January 10, 2021, during the search operation for Sriwijaya Air flight SJY182 which crashed after takeoff from Jakarta on January 9. (Photo by Dany Krisnadhi / AFP) (Photo by DANY KRISNADHI/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Rescue workers carry recovered debris at the port in Jakarta on January 10, 2021, during the search operation for Sriwijaya Air flight SJY182 which crashed after takeoff from Jakarta on January 9. (Photo by Dany Krisnadhi / AFP) (Photo by DANY KRISNADHI/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Dany Krisnadhi/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:16
Indonesian jetliner crashes after taking off from Jakarta
 HONG KONG PRO DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST VENTUS LAU BEING ESCORTED BY POLICE.
HONG KONG PRO DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST VENTUS LAU BEING ESCORTED BY POLICE.
PHOTO: VENTUS LAU FACEBOOK PAGE/Reuters
Now playing
03:15
See Hong Kong police arrest former pro-democracy lawmakers
Tensions between the United States and Iran are likely to further escalate once again after Tehran seized a South Korean-flagged chemical tanker in the Persian Gulf, according to semi-official Iranian news agencies, and announced it had resumed enriching uranium to 20% purity, far beyond the limits laid out in the 2015 nuclear deal. President Donald Trump walked away from the agreement in 2018. CNN
Tensions between the United States and Iran are likely to further escalate once again after Tehran seized a South Korean-flagged chemical tanker in the Persian Gulf, according to semi-official Iranian news agencies, and announced it had resumed enriching uranium to 20% purity, far beyond the limits laid out in the 2015 nuclear deal. President Donald Trump walked away from the agreement in 2018. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.
PHOTO: YJC
Now playing
02:37
Footage shows chemical tanker seized by Iranian forces
A European health worker prepares a shot of the coronavirus vaccine.
A European health worker prepares a shot of the coronavirus vaccine.
PHOTO: Reuters
Now playing
02:14
Frustration in Europe over pace of coronavirus vaccine rollout
Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attends the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system. Shanghai, China, 24 October 2020.

Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attended the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system.No Use China. No Use France.
Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attends the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system. Shanghai, China, 24 October 2020. Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attended the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system.No Use China. No Use France.
PHOTO: Zhao Yun/Oriental Image/Reuters
Now playing
03:05
Chinese tech tycoon has not been seen in months
(CNN) —  

In the tightly-censored bubble of state-run media and restricted internet, Beijing locals enjoyed their October 1 National Day seemingly unaware that in Hong Kong, which is Chinese territory, police and protesters were fighting in the streets.

People did take to Beijing’s streets later in the evening – but it was only to get a better view of the massive fireworks display over Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, part of the celebrations to mark 70 years of the People’s Republic of China.

It was a stark contrast that made headlines around the world – the order and pomp of Beijing versus the rage of Hong Kong’s demonstrators, with one protester even shot by police in a confrontation. It was the first time lethal force had been used in 17 weeks of demonstrations.

Fireworks explode over Tiananmen Square as performers mark the 70th anniversary of the People
Fireworks explode over Tiananmen Square as performers mark the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China in Beijing on October 1.
PHOTO: Jason Lee/Reuters

Of course, inside China it is immensely difficult to truly gauge how much people know about events, and what their true feelings are. Saying the wrong thing can quickly get you in trouble with authorities.

But on televisions and phones across Beijing, between shots of tanks and dancers, President Xi Jinping’s beaming face was the most common sight. The Chinese government had ratcheted up censorship ahead of the 70th anniversary – for Xi, nothing could be allowed to go wrong.

In Beijing on October 1, rather than screen footage of the scenes in Hong Kong, state-run media played shows and panel discussions praising the achievements of the Chinese government, or replayed footage of the morning’s military parade. When CNN broadcast news of the protests inside the country, screens went black as censors cut off the feed.

Patriotism and pride

On the country’s social media sites, such as the Twitter-like Weibo, messages were full of patriotism and pride. Commentary around the morning’s military parade was either blandly positive or strictly apolitical.

All comments on Hong Kong were heavily filtered to give the impression of a city celebrating the 70th anniversary along with the rest of the country. The top five trending terms about the city on Tuesday were stories of patriotic Hong Kongers unfurling the Chinese flag on the iconic Lion Rock mountain, or groups gathering in the streets to celebrate the anniversary.

To an outside observer, the propaganda and censorship might seem like only a means to an end, a way to ensure that the parade went as smoothly as possible and the image of China as a united and powerful country was maintained for the outside world. But that ignores the political significance of the parade itself. For President Xi and the Chinese government, the majesty of the march through Beijing on Tuesday was aimed squarely at the country’s almost 1.4 billion people.

A float with a giant portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping passes by Tiananmen Square during the National Day parade in Beijing on October 1.
A float with a giant portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping passes by Tiananmen Square during the National Day parade in Beijing on October 1.
PHOTO: GREG BAKER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

The viewing figures alone are staggering. An estimated 1.2 billion people watched the state-run CCTV coverage, according to the government, a figure almost equal to the entire population.

The message was one of the stability and might: you are part of a powerful nation which is just beginning to set foot on the world stage. China has changed a lot in the past 70 years and many people are proud of their country’s achievements – and with good reason. In just a matter of decades, their nation has gone from an impoverished backwater to one of the wealthiest in the world.

Participants wave red cloth during the National Day parade in Beijing.
Participants wave red cloth during the National Day parade in Beijing.
PHOTO: Mark Schiefelbein/AP

Domestic touches that would mean nothing to international observers were designed to pull in as many Chinese individuals as possible. Each province was represented by a lavish float, which drove down the center of Beijing’s Chang’an avenue.

At night, each of China’s official 56 minority groups was represented in the gala performance, taking turns to dance, faces full of happy smiles.

On the ground, it’s impossible to tell how much of an effect the blatantly positive messaging has. Hong Kang, 23, an advertising worker from the eastern city of Hangzhou, said the unrest in Hong Kong was “useless.”

When told someone had been shot on Tuesday, he wasn’t surprised. “There won’t be any good outcome for you if you fight with the great China,” he added.