Friday, October 01, 2010

China celebrates National Day under hazy skies

China celebrated 61 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China on Friday. It was a less extravagant affair than 2009 with little sign of the high security and armed police seen on the streets of Beijing that marked last year's events. Top Chinese leaders laid flower baskets at the Monument to the People's Heroes in the heart of Beijing Friday morning to mark the occasion. Tiananmen Square, the world's biggest public space, was covered in a sea of flowers in preparation for the ceremony, which started at around 10:00 local time. 

State-run China Central Television (CCTV) showed eighteen honorary guards solemnly carrying nine flower wreaths and laying them on the north-side of the Monument to the People's Heroes in the centre of the square which faces the Forbidden City and the portrait of former chairman Mao Zedong that hangs on its gate. 

President Hu Jintao walked forward to adjust the ribbons hanging on the wreaths before he, Premier Wen Jiabao and other Standing Committee members paid their respects by walking past the wreaths. They were then followed by others present at the ceremony, amongst them representatives from the People's Liberation Army and people representing China's 56 ethnic minorities wearing traditional costumes.

The events took place under hazy skies with the US Embassy's air monitoring station registering the air quality as hazardous for much of the day.

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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