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Face-lift to Mark Deng's Birthday

A face-lift of the huge portrait of Deng Xiaoping and the surrounding square was completed in Shenzhen on Sunday, in time for Deng's 100th birth anniversary a week away.

Flanking Shennan Road Central and neighboring the Grand Theater, the huge portrait, "Comrade Xiaoping in Shenzhen," was first set up in 1992 and has become a city landmark. It underwent a face-lift in 1994 and 1996.

This time, the renovation included the square surrounding the portrait.

The new portrait retains its original form while some adjustments and complementary details were added to the background. The portrait has been moved back 35 meters making the square larger. It occupies 13,500 sqm of which 8,500 sqm has been dedicated to gardens. The project cost 5.73 million yuan (US$692,800) by the municipal government.

The square opens to the public Monday.

To commemorate Deng's 100th birth anniversary, which falls on Aug. 22, a grand party will also be held at the city's television center Monday evening.

Themed "Story in Spring," the party will present six items with a strong cast, involving nearly 300 performers. The program contains piano solos, singing and dancing, poetry recitation among other things.

The cast includes national celebrities such as piano prodigies Li Yundi and Chen Sa, Phoenix TV hostess Chen Luyu, film actor Pu Cunxin and some local showbiz groups.

The party will also feature an honor guard show by the PLA garrison stationed in Hong Kong. With story-telling accompanied by music, the performances will wend through poetry giving vivid pictures of Deng and the city of Shenzhen.

Shenzhen residents hold Deng in high esteem as Deng, an architect of the nation's reform, transformed an isolated and poor China into an open and prosperous country.

A veteran public servant surnamed Zhang said: "Without Deng, without Shenzhen. Without Deng, Shenzhen could not have developed into what it is now."

(Shenzhen Daily August 16, 2004)

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