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China marked the 60th anniversary of the assumption of power by the Communist Party with a huge parade that show cased its military might.

The ceremonies centered on Tiananmen Square where, on Oct. 1, 1949, Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

The parade with an estimated 100,000 participants showed off military hardware and serves as a reminder the world's most populous country -- 1.3 billion -- can field an important army in the traditional sense of military power.

But China's true strength wasn't seen on the parade grounds. Instead, it is inked in ledger books where the figures show Beijing holds considerable international sway economically. The United States is particularly vulnerable along this line as China in recent years has amassed more than $1 trillion in U.S. dollars in its foreign reserves (and another $1 trillion in other currencies).

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China's President Hu Jintao stands in the open roof of a limousine as he inspects a massive military parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, in Beijing October 1, 2009. UPI/Stephen Shaver
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