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September 30, 2009

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Cue the doves, Beijing gets set for celebration

THE grand ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China will start at 10am tomorrow in Beijing.

The celebration will center on Tian'anmen Square in the heart of capital and Chang'an Avenue, the main west-east thoroughfare, said Wang Yue, executive commander of the headquarters for civilian parade affairs, in announcing details of the festivities.

Immediately following a massive military parade, a civilian parade will commence comprising 36 formations and six performing groups involving about 100,000 citizens and 60 floats. It will be complemented by 80,000 primary and middle school students in Tian'anmen Square forming background patterns.

More than 4,000 performers, including a 2,400-strong chorus, will present a concert in the square, Wang said.

The civilian parade, which begins with a formation of honor guards holding the Chinese flag, will have three themes: ideology, achievements and future prospects.

"Ideology" will be portrayed by formations holding portraits of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao and placards featuring slogans characteristic of their thinking.

Future wishes

Nineteen floats will display China's achievements, while another 34 will represent China's 31 provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, as well as Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Three formations of teenagers will express their wishes for a beautiful future. More than 5,000 children have been organized to release colorful balloons and tens of thousands of doves will be sent aloft.

The square and its surrounding area have been spruced up the celebrations.

Tian'anmen Rostrum to the north of the square has been decorated with eight huge red lanterns, a new portrait of Mao Zedong, founder of New China, and two banners reading "Long Live the People's Republic of China" and "Long Live the Unity of All People of the World."

Three temporary reviewing stands capable of holding 10,000 people have been erected in front of the rostrum and on the northern side of the Great Hall of the People.

Dynamic display

On the square itself, the Monument to the People's Heroes has been thoroughly cleaned, while to the north of the monument stands a portrait of Dr Sun Yat-sen, a forerunner of the Chinese democratic revolution.

Jia Yingting, deputy chief of Tian'anmen Area Administrative Committee, said that four giant electronic screens, erected around the square for the first time this year to show slogans and video programs, added "a sense of dynamism" to the square.

The most eye-catching objects on the square are 56 huge pillars, installed along its eastern and western sides. They symbolize the ethnic groups inhabiting China.

In vibrant red and gold, each pillar features a young dancing couple draped in festive costume, plus a representative image and a corresponding title for each ethnic group.

Visitors who went to the square yesterday to absorb the festive atmosphere stood in long lines under wet skies as they waited to pass security checks, which have been tightened across the capital.


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