With the curtain of the ceremony celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China lifted, Yi Xiaoguang, a general of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force and commander of the Central Theater Command, became the first air force general to take the role as the parade's general commander.
The role used to be held by generals of the ground force.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China has held four military parades - in September 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45); in July 2017 to mark the PLA's 90th birthday; in April 2018 in the South China Sea; and in April 2019 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Navy in Qingdao.
Before the comprehensive military reform, the role of the general commander of the military parade on National Day was taken by the commander of the original Beijing Military Region, one of the PLA's seven military regions.
In September 2015, General Song Puxuan, then commander of the Beijing Military Region, was general commander of the military parade that marked the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War in Beijing.
Since the reform in national defense and the military, commanders of the Central Theater Command have started to assume the role of commander of military parades.
General Han Weiguo, previously commander of the Central Theater Command, served as the commander of the military parade that marked the PLA's 90th birthday in 2017.
Yi, born in 1958, joined the PLA Air Force in 1974 at the age of 16. He served in the headquarters of the Air Force, the Air Force Command Academy and several Air Force units. He once served as deputy chief of staff of the Guangzhou Military Region Air Force.
Yi flew Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 15 jet fighters, Shenyang J-5, J-6, J-7 jet fighters, and Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 fighter aircraft. In 1997, he flew a McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle fighter. He took part in Peace Mission 2005, the first ever joint military exercise between China and Russia.
In July 2016, he was promoted to general.
Media dubbed Yi a "star general." He used to be the youngest lieutenant general and general in service. He has been keeping a low profile and rarely makes public appearances.)