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China Commemorates Centenary of Deng Xiaoping's Birth

Chinese people all over the country paid homage Sunday to late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of China's reform and opening up drive, to commemorate the centenary of his birth.

A large gathering in Beijing Sunday morning in the Great Hall of the People marked the occasion.

Addressing the audience, Chinese President Hu Jintao said: "Deng Xiaoping is a great man of the world" and his "achievements and scientific theories will, as they already did, continue to change and influence China and the world at large."

In Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, a large-scale photo exhibition on Deng Xiaoping, attracted crowds Sunday.

"Deng Xiaoping has produced far-reaching influence on the Chinese society. Thanks to him, Chinese people now enjoy much higher living standards and have a broader vision of the world," said a visitor, who came to the exhibition with his wife and their teenage son.

In Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, 200 pianists played together a composition written in praise of Deng Xiaoping at the foot of the Lotus Mountain. Director of the concert said the number of players, ranging from an 8-year-old child to an 82-year-old retired music professor, created a new Guinness World record.

Since early morning, many people had gone to Lotus Mountain, placing flowers around the bronze statue of Deng that sits at the top.

A local man surnamed Chen brought his children and his grandchildren to the statue to present flowers and take photos.

"Shenzhen was a backward town before China's reform and opening-up. My two sons both ran to the nearby Hong Kong to seek a living," said Chen. "The reform and opening-up pushed by Deng Xiaoping and his great plan for establishing a special economic zone here have greatly changed our lives. We now lead a happy and well-off life and my two sons have returned. We feel grateful to Deng Xiaoping and will always remember him."

The national postal administration issued a set of commemorative stamps in honor of Deng Sunday.

In Baise, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a bronze statue of Deng Xiaoping was unveiled Sunday at his former military command headquarters. Another bronze statue of Deng was unveiled in Lushan County, central China's Henan Province, where Deng has worked.

In Guang'an, roads to Deng Xiaoping's former residence were jammed as great numbers of people came to pay respect.

Zhang Mingde, who drove to here from another city, was not disturbed by the trouble.

"Without Deng Xiaoping, we wouldn't have the happy life of today. We cherish memories of him genuinely and sincerely," said Zhang.

For young people, Deng Xiaoping is a source of inspiration.

"Grandpa Deng had a hard experience in France. Yet he managed to go on with work-study program even in those harsh conditions. He is far greater than us," said Hu Jialin, a junior high school student who went here with his parents from Chongqing.

Commemoration activities have been going on all year across the country, including showing new films about Deng, holding commemoration gatherings and photo exhibitions.

A major purpose of the commemorations, as stated by Chinese President Hu Jintao at Sunday's grand gathering in Beijing, is to recall and learn from Deng Xiaoping's style and integrity and further push forward China's development.

(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2004)

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