Chinese authorities are planning lavish celebrations marking the anniversary of the end of World War II on September 3, an event largely being shunned by Western leaders but drawing a host of leaders from Asia and the former Soviet Union.
Beijing is mobilizing hundreds of thousands of its citizens, and President Xi Jinping will oversee the spectacle marking the 70th anniversary of the war.
The parade will showcase 12,000 Chinese soldiers as well as an array of domestically-produced military hardware. Close to 1,000 foreign troops from countries including Russia will participate.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is by far the most high-profile foreign leader attending, along with other leaders from Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Belarus.
Absent will be key leaders from Western democracies, including U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Japan has gone so far as to protest the attendance of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who cited his attendance at other celebrations this year in Poland, Ukraine, and Moscow, as the reason.