BEIJING - More than 120,000 people from across China rallied at the Tian’anmen Square at the heart of Beijing at daybreak on Oct 1 to watch the raising of the national flag.
Oct 1 marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
The crowd stood in silence as the national anthem was played and the five-star national flag was raised on its mast. When about 10,000 Peace Doves and 30,000 yellow and red balloons were released to celebrate the National Day, people cheered and applauded.
Though the ceremony is held on a daily basis, the event on Oct 1 drew a larger-than-normal crowd of tourists and locals who chose to celebrate the National Day at the square.
“It took me 27 hours by train to travel from Guiyang to the Beijing West Railway Station. Ten hours from the station to the square plus waiting. When I saw the flag rise, all the coldness and tiredness were gone,” said Tan Shitao from southwest China’s Guiyang City.
A similar ceremony was held in the capital of the country’s far western Xinjiang, when about 10,000 people watched the raising of the national flag at the People’s Square in Urumqi.
A 50-year-old nut shop owner stood at the square and took photos with his family after the ceremony. He said he expected more people to visit Xinjiang during the holiday as “Xinjiang is beautiful and welcomes all nice people.”
Watching the national flag go up in Xinjiang was a unique experience for Luo Qian, a civil servant from east China’s Shandong Province who now works in Xinjiang. “I feel the greatness of our country and I’m proud to have the chance to work here,” Luo said.
The southernmost city of Sansha in the South China Sea, 2,680 km from Beijing, also witnessed the raising of the national flag at daybreak. “There are more and more people on the island now. Aside from fishing, I could open a restaurant,” said Fu Guoshan, a fisherman. “Life will be better.”
Wu Zhongcan, one of the soldiers who raised the flag, said he was proud to mark the day in Sansha. “Whenever I see the national flag, I feel safe and calm.”
Sansha City was created on July 24, 2012 on Yongxing Island to administer the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.
In the meantime, thousands of people in east China’s Fuzhou City gathered and watched the raising of the national flag to celebrate the 65th National Day.
“My grandpa was brought to the Chinese mainland from Taiwan by the nationalist forces, then he joined the People’s Liberation Army here,” said Huang Yimei, a Gaoshan ethnic minority. “Our family have now all settled in Fuzhou since 1949.”
“Grandpa never had the chance to return to Taiwan before he passed away. I hope the Chinese mainland and Taiwan can now have more exchange opportunities,” Huang said.
Less garbage was collected at the Tian’anmen Square on the National Day this year, Beijing’s Environment Sanitation Engineering Group said.
As of 10 am of Oct 1, a total of 3.5 tonnes of garbage was cleared at the square, down about 30 percent from that in last year.
Tourists at the square reached 120,000 this year, compared to 110,000 people last year, but the average garbage generated per person has decreased from 45 grams to 29 grams, said Zhang Zhiqiang with the sanitation group.
“It shows the increase in tourists’ environmental awareness,” Zhang said.
In east China’s Xiamen City, a group wedding was held to celebrate the National Day.
A hundred couples from 18 provinces in the Chinese mainland, as well as from Taiwan and the United Kingdom, attended the wedding organized by the city.
“Today is the most unforgettable day in my life. It is not only the National Day but also my wedding day and my wife’s birthday,” said Zou Yisong from Zhangzhou of Fujian Province.