China celebrates National Day
Beijing: China on Friday celebrated its 61st National Day in a subdued fashion as the entire country virtually shut down for a weak to celebrate the mid autumn festival.
The ceremonies held at the historic Tiananmen Square where the main flag hoisting ceremony were subdued compared to the pomp, pageantry and massive parade held last year to celebrate the 60th anniversary attracting the international attention.
"The Chinese people celebrated the National Day of the People's Republic of China with pride and passion on Friday as the world's most populous nation has become the second-largest economy after 61 years of development," the state-run Xinhua news agency said in its report summing up the celebrations.
While the entire country slipped into a holiday mood with all most all institutions including banks shutting down for the next seven days, focus of the day remained the launch of Change-II, the second lunar mission to make preparations for the launch of mission to land on moon by 2013.
Millions of Chinese were on the move since yesterday to visit their native places to celebrate the "Golden Weak" for family reunion.
In downtown Beijing, more than 150,000 people – many wearing traditional costumes of different ethnic groups -- from across the country gathered at the Tiananmen Square, the heart of Beijing, to watch a Grand National flag raising ceremony early today.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other top leaders laid flower baskets at the Monument to the People's Heroes on the square to pay their respects to those who sacrificed for the nation's independence.
Last night, the ruling Communist Party leadership headed by Hu Jintao attend the reception to celebrate the National Day at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
In Shanghai, the China National Pavilion Day was celebrated at the World Expo, bringing the global event to a climax. The six month long Expo in which over 180 countries and organisations held their pavilions would draw to close at the end of this month.