Tiananmen Square witnesses grander flag-raising ceremony starting New Year Day

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/1 18:08:39

On the very first day of 2018, more than 90,000 visitors at Tiananmen Square shivering in Beijing's freezing winter morning witnessed history during the capital's flag-raising ceremony.

This was the first time the daily ceremony was conducted by the Guard of Honor of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Prior to this occasion, the duty of firing salute cannons and guarding China's national flag were performed strictly by the armed police since 1982.

The sounding of bugles on the Tiananmen Rostrum signaled the fresh start of the Guard of Honor's new daily routine while a squad of 96 soldiers guarding the five-star red flag marched toward the square. They performed their first flag-raising ceremony at 7:36 am.

Authorized by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on Monday, the Guard of Honor officially took over the responsibility from the armed police. This switch came after last week's announcement that China's armed police will be placed under the command of the CPC Central Committee and Central Military Commission starting January 1, 2018, Xinhua reported.

There were seven additional changes to the flag-raising ceremony. Eight buglers at Tiananmen Rostrum will now perform newly composed music on the first day of each month's flag-raising ceremony. The number of soldiers guarding the national flag will be increased from 36 to 96 on the first day of each month; during ordinary times, the number will be increased from 36 to 66. And the flag-rising time will be reduced to just 46 seconds.

Other changes include the position of the military band and the time of playing "Ode to the Motherland," as well as some adjustment to flag-guarding actions and the size of the flag-raising team, adjusted to three soldiers dressed in army, navy and air force uniforms, thus representing the entire PLA, according to Xinhua. 

A soldier unfurls China's national flag at Tiananmen Square during the flag-raising ceremony Monday morning in Beijing, which for the first time is conducted by the Guard of Honor of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Photo: Li Hao/GT

Three soldiers, dressed in army, navy and air force uniforms, stand at attention in front of the flag-raising platform. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Pigeons are released into the sky at Tiananmen Square at the end of the flag-raising ceremony. Photo: Li Hao/GT

PLA military band performs China's national anthem. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Visitors wait enthusiastically to witness the historic flag-raising ceremony Monday morning. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Newspaper headline: Grander ceremony

Posted in: IN-DEPTH

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