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Nation pays solemn tribute to its heroes

By ZHANG YUNBI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-10-02 07:05
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Xi Jinping and other leaders of the Communist Party of China and the state including Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, Li Xi and Han Zheng attend a ceremony to present flower baskets to fallen national heroes in Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, capital of China, Sept 30, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

A brisk autumn wind from the northwest, as well as bright sunshine and a blue sky, added color and seasonal touches to the solemn, grand annual ceremony held on Saturday at Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing to mark China's 10th Martyrs' Day.

Xi Jinping and other leaders of the Communist Party of China and the State attended the ceremony to present flower baskets to the fallen national heroes.

Other leaders included Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, Li Xi and Han Zheng. They were joined by representatives from all walks of life at the ceremony.

China introduced and marked its first Martyrs' Day in 2014. The event falls on Sept 30 every year ahead of the country's National Day on Oct 1.

The event honors the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the Chinese people and the development of the People's Republic of China.

This year's ceremony was presided over by Yin Li, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the CPC.

At 10 am, all participants sang the national anthem and then paid silent tribute.

The silence was accentuated by the sound of 16 solid-red flags flapping at the front of the crowd.

Nine huge flower baskets that were to be presented were placed in front of the Monument to the People's Heroes with ribbons reading "Eternal Glory to the People's Heroes".

The band of the People's Liberation Army performed an affectionate song for the flower presentation, while 18 soldiers lifted the flower baskets, walked slowly toward the monument, walked up the stairs and then placed the baskets at the foot of the monument.

Xi and other leaders stepped up to the foot of the monument, where Xi straightened the ribbons on the baskets before leading other senior officials in a walk around the monument to pay tribute.

Children and representatives from all walks of life also filed up to the monument in an orderly manner and laid flowers to pay homage.

Observers and officials noted that since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the nation has constantly stepped up encompassing and coordinating efforts in introducing all-around legislation, policy and funding to better honor the heroes and boost public awareness.

Since the first Martyrs' Day, Xi, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has made a tradition of paying homage to fallen heroes on that day.

"Each part of the CPC's revolutionary history is a vivid textbook of ideals and faith," Xi said during an inspection tour in 2017 when he visited a revolutionary memorial museum in Shanxi province and left a basket of flowers to pay respect to the country's war heroes.

In a reply letter he made on Thursday, Xi greeted students of People's Public Security University of China who are children of martyrs by saying: "Your parents were courageous to honor their duty and perform their tasks. They were willing to sacrifice and dedicate themselves, and their spirit is always worth remembering and carrying forward."

Every year on Martyrs' Day, local governments throughout the country organize public ceremonies to commemorate martyrs.

The country has strengthened the standardized management of martyrs' memorial facilities, setting up over 1,600 institutions specializing in the protection of memorial facilities.

The central financial authorities have introduced raises in standard regular pensions for surviving family members of martyrs, and have guided localities to take measures and roll out policies to boost their welfare in such areas as pensions, medical care and employment.

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