UPDATE 1-China to mark 70 years of communism with massive show of force

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* President Xi Jinping to oversee celebrations, military parade

* China to highlight military and technological prowess

* Celebrations come amid challenges of trade war, Hong Kong unrest (Adds details, bullet points)

By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING, Oct 1 (Reuters) - China will celebrate seven decades of communist rule on Tuesday with a display of power through central Beijing, showing off goose-stepping troops, new missiles and floats celebrating the country's technological prowess.

The event is the country's most important of the year as China looks to project an image of confidence in the face of mounting challenges, including nearly four months of anti-government protests in the territory of Hong Kong and a bitter trade war with the United States that has weighed on its economy.

President Xi Jinping will give a speech - broadcast live around the country - and then review a massed military parade, with 15,000 troops marching through part of Tiananmen Square, as jet fighters scream overhead.

Xi, whose military modernisation programme has rattled nerves around the region, will likely descend from a podium on the Gate of Heavenly Peace to inspect the ranks, though exact details have been kept under wraps ahead of time.

Xi remains broadly popular in China for his aggressive campaign against corruption and for propelling what is now the world's second-biggest economy to the forefront of global politics.

But the Communist Party remains nervous about its grip on power and international standing.

The capital has been locked down for the parade. Police have told residents whose houses look onto the parade route not to look out their windows.

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There will be a civilian parade too, of students, model workers, ethnic minorities and even a few foreigners, walking alongside or travelling in floats celebrating China's achievements, officials said last week.

Once the show is over, 70,000 doves will be released to symbolise peace, according to state media.

In the evening, fireworks will light up Beijing.

Story continues

Xi faces mounting challenges, notably in Hong Kong, where more large-scale protests are expected on Tuesday. Police there have warned of "very serious violent attack".

Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is in Beijing for the anniversary celebrations.

Another challenge is Chinese-claimed Taiwan, a free-wheeling democracy with little interest in being run by Beijing and which holds presidential elections in January.

There are also restive minorities in Tibet and heavily Muslim Xinjiang, where China has faced international opprobrium for detaining up to one million ethnic Uighurs in what China calls a de-radicalisation scheme.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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