Macao celebrated the seventh anniversary of its return to China Wednesday with fireworks brightening up the deep blue evening sky.
The 15-minute huge fireworks display was launched at the Macao Tower, the highest building in the city, by the Macao Government Tourist Office, which was presented with synchronized music.
Thousands of people gathered at the Tower and the neighboring areas to watch the display while enjoying the traditional Chinese music.
Early in the morning, a flag-raising ceremony was held to mark the anniversary.
Red five-star Chinese national flag and emerald green lotus-featured Macao regional flag were hoisted in the music of the Chinese national anthem at the Golden Lotus Square downtown Macao.
Edmund Ho Hau Wah, chief executive of Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), led the ceremony.
Those witnessed the flag-hoist included officials from the central government's liaison office and foreign affairs commission in Macao as well as the MSAR government and hundreds of local residents.
The chief executive afterwards attended a blessing ceremony, organized by the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau, the Buddhist Association of Macao and other groups, to pray for the well-being of the MSAR.
A cocktail reception marking the seventh anniversary of the establishment of the MSAR was hosted by the MSAR government in the afternoon, drawing hundreds of celebrities and people from all walks of social life.
The chief executive told the gathering that his government pledges to build a more harmonious society with "solid belief and practical attitude."
He noted that the region has been in a period of progress since it returned to the motherland in 1999 and has witnessed its gradual integration into the regional and international communities.
The MSAR owes much of its success to the capability to maintain harmony amid the rapid social changes, with the full support of the central government, he stressed.
"In a harmonious environment, we should mitigate conflicts to promote the self-improvement," he said.
Ho also vowed to improve public services to meet society's needs in the coming years.
(Xinhua News Agency December 21, 2006)