When the capital's central business district holds the first Dragon Boat Festival in more than four decades, it is only fitting that corporate giants are in the mix of tradition and modernity.
Teams from Microsoft China and Motorola China were on hand yesterday to show off their rowing skills along with four from Gaobeidian village and two from downtown Beijing.
The First Beijing CBD Dragon Boat Race on Tonghui River, organized by Chaoyang District, got off to a spectacular start with participants beating drums and waving flags for thousands of cheering onlookers crowding the banks.
"The CBD is the symbol of today's Beijing, while the Dragon Boat Race is a traditional event of Duanwu Festival," said Cheng Hong, deputy director of the Chaoyang district government. "We combined the two, fusing modern elements into China's tradition."
The ancient festival can be traced back 2,000 years and honors poet Qu Yuan, who took his life when the emperor refused to heed his advice.
"We wanted to show that the CBD provides not only an excellent investment environment but is also in tune with traditional culture," Cheng said.
For the Microsoft China team made up of 20 foreign and Chinese employees, the race was a good opportunity for some time off and bonding.
"The race requires team effort, just like the operations in our company. Also, it is an interesting way of combining Chinese tradition and modernization," said David Kay, general manager of Genuine Software Initiatives, Microsoft China.
For Gaobeidian villagers - renowned for their furniture craftsmanship - the event was just the start of a day of festivities. "We have a series of activities to celebrate the traditional festival, such as making zongzi and Yangge dancing," villager Gao Xiuying said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2007)