China marks 68th National Day

More than 100,000 people braced the morning chill to witness the Chinese national flag rise along with the sun at 6:10 a.m. BJT on Sunday, which marked the 68th National Day. The flag was escorted by the guards of honor from the Armed Police Force.

Even though the flag raising ceremony is held daily, for many spectators gathering at Tiananmen Square, the one marked on the National Day has traditionally had a greater significance.

Some of them traveled a long distance to watch the ceremony for the first time. Many arrived the previous evening and slept nearby, just to find a satisfactory place from where they could watch the pageantry.

Students made a large portion of the spectators, many of whom had the flag painted on their faces. Parents were seen bringing their children, while young lovers and friends held hands, as all of them waved flags at the same time.

It was a typical scene at Tiananmen Square on the National Day, which is marked on October 1 every year.

On this day in 1949, Chairman Mao announced the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In the same year, the Chinese government announced October 1 the National Day.

Grand events are observed during the day, such as rallies and parades, and flowers are usually arranged as decorations at Tiananmen Square. A total of 14 military parade have been observed during the National Day celebrations since the founding of the PRC.

The last such parade was held in 2009, when the country marked the 60th anniversary of its birthday.

In 2015, a military parade was held on September 3 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, therefore there was no other military parade held in the same year.

Starting from 1999, the so-called “golden week” holiday has been marked across China. With three-day official holidays for the National Day, and two weekends added to it, the Chinese people could take at least seven days off.

As one of the longest holidays for most Chinese people, the National Day holiday has become a great boost to the Chinese tourism and commerce.

This year, the National Day holiday, overlapping with the Mid-Autumn Festival, was extended to eight days. The National Tourism Administration predicted that up to 700 million people would be traveling during these holidays, with the tourist income expected to reach 590 billion yuan (88 billion US dollars).

On Sunday, about 15 million people were expected to travel by train, according to the Chinese Railway. The newly-launched Fuxing bullet trains, traveling between Beijing and Shanghai at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour, have become the first choice for many tourists.

As for airlines, at least 1,742 flights are scheduled to take off and land at the Beijing Capital International Airport, catering to a passenger flow of over 300,000 people. The most popular routes for the tourists are mainly those outbound from south China’s Guangzhou to Southeast Asia.