But some fine, healthy gals didn't play along.
The dominant shopping sites T-mall and Taobao, which are both run by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, have plastered this slogan on their sites: "Queen's Day: Reveal your beauty." International Women's Day is relatively new to China, but has gained popularity throughout the years, with some women's organisations holding national gatherings. Still, some think much needs to be done. In 2015, five women were held in Beijing for more than a month, after they planned to stage a protest on March 8 against sexual harassment on public transport.
They were no match for the hundreds of fine gals who marched as the Chang Roses, revealing a far different aspect of 'girl-power' and beauty. I am looking forward to hearing their footsteps coming along the Tavern's drive quite soon and the drinks are ready.
The Clang Roses
A dazzling square formation of women wearing rose-colored suits marched towards Tiananmen with their heads and shoulders held up high. At the National Day military review, there were fourteen square arrays. The last one drew the most attention.
While western women 'marchers' don vagina hats and costumes or go baring their boobies or swearing at police and passers-by, the Chinese ladies offer a model of what to do with them all.They are the Beijing Women's Militia, whose contingent has been dubbed the "clang roses." "Clang" means strong and powerful, while "rose" is the pink/red color of their uniforms.
This special formation is known as "the flowers of the capital militia": their average age is 21.2 years and they are graceful and valiant. Among the fourteen square formations, they were the climatic final group. They represent the several million militia around China. Their appearance caused innumerable pleasant surprises.
Just think how the decaying west could be transformed by a bit of marching up and down in tidy formation, especially in mini-skirts and heeled boots. I suppose some of the boys would want to wear them too.
The militia is a civilian force, and marching at this year's parade were university students, corporate workers, village officials -- and even young mothers!
The two women who were heading the marching militia unit -- Zhang Xiaofei and Zhao Na -- are final-year students at China Women's University in Beijing, who deferred their graduation for the honour of participating in this year's 60th anniversary parade. They are also professional models -- and China's newest sweethearts.
Within a day of the parade that awed the world with its sheer choreographic excellence, diligent Chinese internet users dug out modelling shots of Zhang and Zhao, including a few photographs of them in bikini. Zhang has modelled for L'Oreal cosmetics and a mainland Chinese apparel brand, and Zhao has appeared in print advertisements for foreign carmakers Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Both of them hail from the Shandong province in China's east, and had appeared as hostesses at last year's Beijing Olympics.
The militia participated in the military review the first time in 1958. On September 29, the Chinese Communist Central Committee made the decision to build up the militia. On October 1, more than 600,000 participated in the celebration and marches of National Day. A militia square formation composed of workers, peasants and students were amongst those in the reviewed formations. The female militia square formation also made its first appearance.
As the years go by, the excellent tradition of female militia square formation continued. They marched powerfully and flawlessly. Their excellent performance reflects the honor accorded to this valiant square formation.
These flaming red roses live in different parts of the city and are engaged in different lines of work. They all work for around 100 units in the Chaoyang district of Beijing city. They include university students, corporate workers, private company owners, village officials and even new mothers.
Patriotism made them send in their applications to take part in the grueling training. They regard this military review as a way station in their lives. They made strict demands of themselves and aimed for excellence everywhere.
Their tall bodies, their elegant qualities and their crisp actions brought them through Tiananmen. The two leaders in front, Zhao Na and Zhang Xiaofei, come from the Zhonghua Women's Academy who major in ad modeling and image design. They postponed their graduation because they wanted to participate in the military parade.
It was a tough road from the university campus to the military training camp.
At first, the two did not even know how to stand at attention or at ease.
Their leg kicks were weak, for which they earned the nickname "limp noodles" from their teammates. So they made a pact: "We will do whatever the others can do. No matter how painful or tiring, we must persist."
From then on, their teammates found them doing extra training on the training grounds as well as living quarters. When the others do 20 push-ups, they do 50; when others do leg kicks for 5 minutes, they do 15 minutes; after completing the daily marching step rehearsal, they do another 500 steps themselves.
Their faces became tanned and their skins became rough. Their university teacher was worried: "How can you go in front of the camera in the future?" But they had no reservations. Their training performance improved dramatically.
They were selected as the leaders of the female militia square formation.
"Coming here for the military review is like going to the battlefield. The call from the motherland must be answered with concrete action." The two beautiful girls said with strength coming out of their gentleness.
"I will give you my youth and blood just like I repay my parents for bringing me up." Zhang Yuanyuan had been studying and working in Singapore for five years. She earns more than 20,000 RMB per month. She even has a "green card" there. But the material conditions do not her longing for her homeland. When she learned about the military review, she ignored the advice of her friends and relatives and returned to China to apply for the team.
During the training, Zhang Yuanyuan was extremely self-confident, strong and optimistic. She had a stress fracture in her pelvic bone which caused extreme pain every step that she marched. But she did not retreat. She wrote in her diary: "Persist! No stopping! Never give up!" Whenever the reporter encounter Zhang Yuanyuan in the training camp, she always wore a beaming smile.
Compared to the previous National Day parades, the female militia police square formations had a brand new sub-group this year: there are eight "village officials" who are university graduates. They come from eight villages in the Chaoyang district jurisdiction.
I doubt if any have degrees in 'Wimmin's Studies'.Although these young women were all born in the 1980's, they all have at least a bachelor's degree and they hold multiple job positions in their villages.
Lin Lin is a graduate students at the Beijing Industrial University's Corporate Management School. Last July, she was faced with a career choice. She decided to work in a rural Beijing village as an ordinary grassroots cadre. Six months later, Lin Lin was promoted to assistant to the mayor on the basis of her steadiness, pragmatism, diligence, willingness to learn and support among villagers. When she learned about the military review, she did not hesitate to apply immediately. Lin Lin said: "It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to participate in the National Day military parade. I must treasure this rare opportunity to gain experience for myself."
In November 2008, higher authorities urged Chaoyang District to establish a female militia group. The Department of People's Armed Forces of Chaoyang District is responsible for the selection, establishment and training of the militia group.
Quickly, selection of the militia members was conducted in neighborhoods, communities, businesses and public institutions in the district. The National Day parade is a grand ceremony which rarely takes place, and participating in it is a precious opportunity for those who were born in 1980's and 1990's. "Let's go to sign up for the military parade" was on the lips of many young women in Chaoyang District.
During that period of time, many young women went to registration spots. Among them were overseas Chinese students who had just returned to China, white collar clerks who had quit their jobs, a community healthcare center nurse who had quit the nationwide final of "the Miss Tourism International" contest, and students who were in the process of pursuing master's degrees.
Those who were born in 1990's are not the "strawberry generation" any more
46.3 percent of the female militia group members are the only child in their families and many of them come from a comfortable background. They are called the "strawberry generation" because they live in a comfortable environment and cannot cope with setbacks.At the beginning of their time at the parade village, some female militia members would cry just because they failed to adapt to the training, had not been praised in several days or had been away from home for one week. Several months later, however, they became qualified soldiers and 43 members joined the CPC.
I do not want to give the impression that we in the west should copy the east, but heck, I am of military life and heritage and see much benefit in training young people to at least be tidy. If they have to be on the streets, at least they should look as well turned-out as these gals and be proud of themselves and their achievments.
At the age of 18, Liu Jiaxin is the youngest member of the female militia. She lived a carefree life before participating in the training. "When I stayed home, I hardly did housework including washing dishes." Liu smiled shyly. When she first joined the women militia group, she relied on others to fold up her quilt. Leaders urged every member to fold up their quilt neatly every day and she would ask others to do it for her. She even did not use her quit at night. After several months of training, Liu Jiaxin has changed completely. Now, she is very industrious, washing clothes, sweeping the floor and giving a helping hand to others.
On her birthday, other group members held an adulthood ceremony for her. Receiving congratulations from leaders and other group members, she said: "This is the most meaningful birthday in my life and what I have learnt in the training is the best birthday gift I could have received."
Today on the ABC news we were not treated to these girls but to some old biddy who was amongst the original Policewomen in Tasmania. She was complaining that the police ladies back then were 'forced to wear skirts and heels'. Oh, the indignity. Oh the oppression. Oh the inequality.
Give me those fine chinese gals any day.
I will have to find out what their tipple is. And maybe invite James Bond along.