China on Sunday marked the 68th National Day with more than 115,000 people from across the country gathering at the Tian’anmen Square here to watch the raising of the National Flag. At 6.07 a.m., the national flag was escorted by guards into the square. The crowd stood in silent as the national anthem “March of the Volunteers” was played, and the five-star national flag was raised, reports Xinhua news agency. When the flag unfurled, 10,000 Peace Doves were released into the sky.
At the backdrop was a 17-metre-tall giant display in the shape of a floral basket, which holds flowers and fruits such as persimmons, pomegranates, apples, peonies and Chinese roses. Watching the national flag raising ceremony at the Tian’anmen Square has been a way of Chinese celebrating the National Day. Some joined the gathering for sightseeing, and others came to express the feeling of patriotism. “We really got emotional when we sang the national anthem on this occasion,” said Yang Yuanyang, a freshman from the Beijing Information Science and Technology University.
According to China’s national anthem law which took effect on Sunday, the anthem will now be allowed at formal political gatherings, including flag raising ceremonies and major celebrations. The National Day is celebrated with a week-long holiday, while the Chinese traditional Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Cake Festival, featuring family gathering, on Wednesday. Major parks in Beijing have been decorated with around 1.6 million potted flowers of 150 different species.
On Sunday, the scenic area of the landmark Badaling section of the Great Wall in northern Beijing was opened earlier than normal days to welcome holiday tourists. Badaling, where the oldest sections of the Great Wall have been dated back to the Northern Qi Dynasty (550 – 557), was decorated with over 100,000 flowerpots to add the festive air for the National Day. The ancient Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal opened its first transport hub on Sunday, marking the start of a modern transport era on the 2,500-km man-made waterway, the longest in the world.
With the hub in operation in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, passengers can travel by boat for sightseeing on the Grand Canal and conveniently transfer from water traffic to other road transport means. Over 1,000 km of the Grand Canal has been recognized as a world heritage site in 2014.