Sixty gun salutes fired to honor 60th anniversary of New China

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, October 1, 2009
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A solemn flag-raising ceremony and 60-gun salutes kicked off a grand celebration in central Beijing Thursday morning to mark the 60th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders joined about 200,000 paraders, soldiers, students and dignitaries for the big day of New China on Tian'anmen Square.

The 440,000-square-meter square, overlooked by a huge south-facing portrait of late Chairman Mao Zedong on Tian'anmen Rostrum, was packed with flower-holding youngsters, solemn guards, performers dressed in colorful clothes, and numerous police to safeguard a tight security.

A total of 56 red columns were erected on the east and west sides of the square, which represented the 56 ethnic groups in China. Sixty huge lantern-shaped balloons over the square were also in red color, which symbolize auspice and happiness according to Chinese tradition.

At 10 a.m., Liu Qi, secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), announced the start of the grand rally.

Amid 60 gun salutes, a squad of 200 armed police in olive green uniforms walked down the platform of the Monument to the People's Heroes in the center of the square, carrying a furled flag and marching northward on a red carpet toward the national flag post.

The guards walked a total of 169 steps, which symbolized 169 years since 1840, a watershed in China's history when the country lost the Opium War with Britain. That eventually led to the scramble of Western power in China.

The founding of the People's Republic ended China's history of being humiliated by outside forces. The country now is emerging as a major political and economic power in the international stage.

President Hu, flanked by former president Jiang Zemin, top legislator Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders and invited guests, stood in the balcony of Tian'anmen Rostrum overlooking the packed square.

While the five-star red flag was being hoisted, the crowd sang in chorus with the 1,300-member military band playing the national anthem.

The events for the big day were also watched nationwide via live TV and online broadcast.

President Hu, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, is expected to review the Chinese troops shortly.

This will be followed by a military parade and a mass pageant which is set to showcase major achievements and growing strength of the 1.3 billion-people socialist country.

On Oct. 1, 1949, Chairman Mao proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China, after the Kuomintang government lost a civil war and retreated to Taiwan.

Following decades of socialist construction, political upheavals and economic ups and downs, particularly as a result of transition to market economy since the late 1970s, China now emerges as the world's third largest economy in terms of gross domestic product.

Participated by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF), military reserves and militia, the military parade will be a debut of China' s new weaponry and enhanced defense strength.

Some of China-made sophisticated weaponry, including cruise missiles, early warning aircraft and new battle tanks, will be the centerpiece of the parade, the 14th of this kind since 1949.

More than 150 jet-fighters, bombers, helicopters and other aircraft are to fly over Tian'anmen Square.

Along Chang'an Avenue, the east-west thoroughfare across downtown Beijing, dozens of temporary floral "sculptures" were set up, with red flags and colorful banners hung on street lamp poles and buildings to create a festive atmosphere.


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