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Fireworks, temple bells greet 2009
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Shanghai rang in the new year with fireworks, music and the sounds of traditional bells at the Longhua Temple.

Residents welcomed 2009 across the city in bars, pubs, homes and public venues in a mood that was guardedly optimistic.

With wars, natural disasters and financial turmoil clouding the past year, the main hopes for 2009 expressed by those interviewed by Shanghai Daily last night were for peace and financial stability.


People rang big bell in New Year eve.

Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said in his new year's address that the city is facing economic transformation and a complicated external environment. The year will bring the city bigger challenges as preparations for the 2010 World Expo enter the final stage.

"We will ensure the steady and stable growth of the economy and continue to improve the livelihoods of our residents as well as the harmony and stability of society and make steady progress on the preparations for the World Expo," the mayor said.

One of the hottest spots to celebrate was the annual Xintiandi Countdown Party at Taipingqiao Lake, which has attracted thousands of expats and locals every new year since 2002.

This year's party featured singing and dancing performances from famous Hong Kong pop singers Eason Chan and Sandy Lam and a children's chorus.


New Year celebrations

The stage, floating above the lake's surface, featured a giant laser projection system, dazzling lights, fireworks and a magnolia-shaped countdown device.

It was the second time that Xintiandi has collaborated with the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

Four newly selected theme songs for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo were performed during the gala, which was broadcast live on Dragon TV.

Rinaldo Lunetta from Italy told Shanghai Daily it was his first visit to Xintiandi and he loved the place, even though he wasn't familiar with the singers.

"I wish to have a lot of friends in the new year, and I want to further enjoy my life and travel more in 2009," he said.

Wu Ye, an employee at the Ernst & Young accounting firm, said she hopes to buy a new apartment in 2009 and also hopes her stocks perform well.

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