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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Beijing set for 1st countdown

By Huang Shaojie and Xuyang Jingjing (Global Times)

08:31, December 31, 2011

Light projected on the Temple of Heaven Thursday at the rehearsal of Beijing's first New Year countdown, making the historic building pink under the night sky Photo: Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development

Beijing will stage its largest marketing coup to brand the city's cultural credentials since the 2008 Olympic Games on the last day of 2011, by joining with the world's other major cities in counting down to the New Year at the Temple of Heaven.

The Chinese capital's first official New Year's Eve outdoor celebration will feature a lavish laser and light show, against the backdrop of one of the city's historic landmarks, where emperors performed elaborate ceremonies to worship the heavens on the Winter Solstice. This marks Beijing's latest major project to boost its position as a world city.

"After the Olympics, we know we can put together a big event," Sun Weijia, vice chairman of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, the government agency that plans the event, said at the rehearsal. "It's about time, too."

The show puts Beijing on the map again, Sun said, as it now proudly joins global New Year's Eve countdown traditions.

"The other big cities also in the celebrations are New York City, London, Paris and Sydney," he said. "But in our time zone, there's just Hong Kong."

"It will be stunning," said Ren Jianghao, meeting and incentive director of the commission, before the rehearsal of the show on Thursday. "Beaming 3D images on the curved surfaces of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest (the centerpiece of the Temple of Heaven) wasn't easy. It took more careful calibration than if we were working on flat surfaces. But we pulled it off."

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