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Nationalities Celebrate Spring Festival in Inner Mongolia
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In the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year, Gao Yucai, a citizen in Songshan District of Chifeng City in North China's Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, celebrated the most important festival to the Chinese by setting off fireworks and lighting up red lanterns.

Gao just moved into the newly-decorated home specially built by the local government for the migrant workers of the Sanzuodian Reservoir, a major water-control project of the city.

"The local government built a 100-square-meter home for every migrant worker, equipped with living necessities such as sofa, double-bed, and gas cooker," he said.

Wang Yuliang, director of the Songshan District, said the first group of 476 people from 122 families had left their home for the construction of the project which aims to resolve the problems of water-supply, irrigation and flood-discharge of Chifeng City.

To make the migrant workers have a good life, the local government specially allocated a land for building a new village for them, which were completed in November 2005.

So far all the 122 families have moved into their new homes.

"This new home, 109.6 square meters, is much larger than my previous one," said Sun Xiuxia.

"We got a compensation of 90,000 yuan (US$11,000) for the old home and spent 56,000 yuan on the new one which has better conditions such as heating and water-supply," she said.

In Sun's family with three generations, the juniors will toast "New Year Wine" to their seniors in the morning of the Lunar New Year's day in line with the customs of the Mongolians.

After the toasting, the youth will go to visit other yurts, kowtow to their elders and enjoy drinking and dancing.

"The yurts have vanished since we settled down. Horses also take the place of motorcycles and cars. Only the customs of visiting each other, drinking and making good wishes for others remain," said Sun.

"Now the Mongolians and the Han people visit each other and drink together, just like brothers and sisters," she said.

The snow before the Spring Festival brought cold to the grassland of Inner Mongolia, but at the herdsmen's home on the Olbert Grassland, the landing site of the Shenzhou-6 manned spacecraft, it is rather warm with bonfire burning and firecrackers cracking.

"We used to go horse-racing in the very morning of the Lunar New Year's day. But now we will enjoy ourselves by taking motorcycles and cars. Sometimes I still miss the fun of horses riding," said Tuya, a herdsman living in the heart of the landing site.

Tuya has a big grassland and raises over 1,000 sheep. The recent snowfall made him exulted. "With enough snow, the grass will surely grow well next year."

The young herdsman Xu Guanfeng on Dolbert Grassland is anticipating the landing of Shenzhou-7.

His father Xu Jixiang, pointing at a green trank, said proudly, "This is an award to my son for his aids to the People's Liberation Army."

In the evening of Nov. 20, 1999, when Shenzhou-1 was sent up and returned the next day, a troop of the PLA lost their way in the landing site of the spacecraft, without food and fuel.

They knocked at Xu Guanfeng's door. Xu welcomed the troop into his home. In the following day, he helped the troops fulfill their task.

This special experience forged the friendship between Xu's family and the troops. In gratitude, the troops rewarded Xu Guanfeng with a truck.

"I'm looking forward to the landing of Shenzhou-7", said the young man.

(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2006)

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