China marks Martyrs' Day, end of Long March

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A ceremony is held at the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing to honor and remember deceased national heroes on the Martyrs' Day, Sept. 30. [Photo: Xinhua News Agency]

Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior leaders attended a ceremony Friday at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing to honor and remember deceased national heroes on Martyrs' Day.

Veterans, family members of martyrs and representatives of all walks of life gathered at the Monument to the People's Heroes at Tian'anmen Square to mark the country's third Martyrs' Day on the eve of National Day.

The marble monument, the foundation of which was laid on Sept. 30, 1949, stood tall against a blue sky. Eight carvings depicting major episodes in Chinese revolutionary history since the First Opium War (1840-1842) adorn the monument's pedestal.

Premier Li Keqiang, top legislator Zhang Dejiang, top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng, senior leader Liu Yunshan, top discipline inspector Wang Qishan and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli also attended the event and presented flowers to the people's heroes with other participants.

A military band played trumpets to commemorate martyrs before the ceremony started.

At 10 a.m., a crowd of around 3,000 people sang the national anthem. They then bowed their heads in silent tribute to those who devoted their lives to the liberation of the Chinese people and the development of new China, which was founded in 1949.

Following a patriotic song by school children in white shirts and red scarves, the uniform of China's Young Pioneers organization, 18 honor guards laid nine baskets of flowers in front of the monument.

The baskets were presented in the names of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, China's top legislature, the State Council, the top political advisory body, the Central Military Commission, democratic parties and non-party individuals, mass organizations, veterans, senior cadres and the families of martyrs, as well as China's Young Pioneers organization.

President Xi straightened red ribbons on one of the baskets and led a group of senior officials in a walk around the monument to pay tribute.

School children and other participants followed them and laid bouquets of chrysanthemums at the foot of the monument.

Martyrs, as defined by the government, are "people who sacrificed their lives for national independence and prosperity, as well as the welfare of people in modern times, or after the First Opium War."

It is estimated that China has about 20 million martyrs.

China's legislature approved Sept. 30 as Martyrs' Day in 2014 to commemorate those who lost their lives fighting for national causes.

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