Today's National Day parade is something of a second coronation for Chinese President Xi Jinping, said Yang Jianli, a longtime dissident and founder of the US-based Citizen Power Initiatives for China.
"The parade is important for Xi," Yang said. "He is seeking a mandate for (dropping term limits) and in turn, enthroning himself as king."
In a piece co-written with human rights activist Aaron Rhodes and shared with CNN ahead of publication, Yang added that "the nationalism on display on October 1 in Beijing is an aggressive assertion of ethnic and cultural superiority driving a mission to dominate and exploit lesser nations of the world, led by a personality cult, and with the military and economic might to succeed. "
"The Tiananmen Massacre ripped the revolutionary facade (from the Communist Party's) Marxist ideology, and forced the Party to rely exclusively on two sources of legitimacy ... high-speed economic development and nationalism," Yang and Rhodes write.
"More than ever, Xi must rely on nationalism to ensure political stability and the legitimacy of the regime."