Celebrations and crowded trains mark National Day

President Hu Jintao yesterday celebrated the National Day holiday with workers at the construction sites of the 2008 Beijing Olympic venues.

Hu inspected the construction sites of the National Stadium, the main venue for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the National Swimming Centre (also called "the Water Cube") and other venues yesterday.

Yesterday marked the first day of the week-long National Day holiday, with millions of people flocking to major tourist sites and colourful celebrations taking place across the country.

The government is expecting more than 330 million people to travel during the holidays marking the 57th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, the People's Daily reported.

Up to 41 million people were expected to travel by rail during the period, with the railway bureau adding up to 100 trains linking major cities and coastal areas to meet demand.

Train tickets from Beijing to the coastal cities of Qingdao and Dalian and the tourist cities of Xi'an and Harbin have been sold out for days, the report said.

Rail traffic was especially heavy in and out of the booming southern city of Guangzhou and the bustling eastern metropolis of Shanghai.

Up to 1.16 million passengers were expected to fly in or out of Beijing's Capital International Airport during the week, Xinhua News Agency said.

In the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Chief Executive Donald Tsang hosted a government reception yesterday to mark National Day.

Hong Kong has an increasingly important role to play in the nation's development, Tsang said.

"To this end, we held the Economic Summit on the 11th Five-Year Plan to map out strategies for the way forward. We will never forget the strong support the central government has given us," he told the reception.

Late yesterday, the HKSAR staged a massive fireworks display over Victoria Harbour to celebrate National Day.

At a reception on Saturday, Premier Wen Jiabao promised to fight against corruption and push ahead with all-round reforms.

"We are committed to reform and opening up. A socialist society is one that should make steady progress through reform," said Wen at the event in the Great Hall of the People.

"We will press ahead with all-round economic, political, cultural and social reform, boost productive forces, strengthen democracy and the legal system, and resolutely fight against corruption. (This is) to build a clean and honest government, ensure social fairness and justice, and improve the socialist system."

All top Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao and top legislator Wu Bangguo, as well as foreign diplomats, attended the gathering.

China cannot develop itself in isolation from the rest of the world, said Wen, promising to adhere to the basic state policy of opening up to the outside world and drawing on achievements of all civilizations.

The programme of reform and opening will propel China's modernization drive, according to Wen.

"The only road for us is to forge ahead. There will be no going back," said Wen.

He said that China has embarked on the road of scientific development and will stay firmly on it.

Source: China Daily

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