Chinese people expressed their desire for national unity and reunification Thursday morning in a mass procession celebrating the 60th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
Following a grand military parade, the mass procession, in 35 formations with different themes, began at around 11:20 am in front of the famous Tian'anmen Rostrum at the heart of Beijing.
About 8,500 people joined the formations unfolding achievements of the country, turning Tian'anmen Square into a stage for a great show of their floats' catwalk.
A gorgeous float with colossal Chinese characters "tuan jie fen jin", or "March in Unity", marched from east to west along the Chang'an Avenue, leading the parade into the theme of national unity.
The 34 floats forming the array "Splendid China" eulogized the great changes in the country during the past 60 years and expressed the desire for national unity and reunification of the country.
Decorated with landmarks of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, the 34 floats focused on economic achievements while highlighting local characteristics.
The five floats from the automous regions of Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang Uygur, Ningxia Hui, Tibet and Guangxi Zhuang offered a distinctive flavor of ethnic minority groups with dancers dressed in ethnic costumes toeing and heeling it to the music.
It took about 18 days for nine art designers of Han, Uygur, Tajik and Hui ethnic groups to decorate the Xinjiang float.
"It feels good to draw all the float paints by ourselves," said Arsin, a Tajik ethnic art designer. "From the bottom of my heart, I hope all brothers and sisters of different ethnic groups in our country can live together in solidarity and prosperity."
Special floats featuring Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions highlighted their city landmarks and their return to the motherland.
China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997 and Macao in 1999.
The float representing Taiwan drew applause and cheers when it pulled into Tian'anmen Square.
It featured the Taipei 101 Tower model, colorful local fruits and other landmarks.
"My feelings were mixed," said Lin Cheng Weng, chairman of the Taiwan-based China Association of Planning. "It took about 60 years for me to turn the black-and-white image of the mainland in my mind to a color one."
It was the first time for Weng to watch such a parade in the mainland.
"We have the same skin color and the same bloodline, thus let us lay aside our historical grudge and look forward together," said Weng, who has been engaged in mainland-Taiwan exchanges for 20 years and was among the Taiwan compatriots invited to watch the parade.
Weng said he wished for a greater unity of the Chinese people across the Taiwan Straits based on mutual understanding.
The mainland and Taiwan, with a long feud after the civil war 60 years ago, have been cementing ties in recent years, seeing financial cooperation, disaster relief donations and exchanges between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang and other political parties on the island, in addition to the breakthroughs in transport links.