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Tribute paid to Yellow Emperor amid fanfare

By Yang Jie (China Daily)

11:33, April 05, 2013

A woman pays tribute to deceased relative at Baobaoshan Cemetery in Beijing on Thursday, Tomb Sweeping Day. Also Know as the Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival, it is a time for Chinese people to commemorate the dead by tending the graves of their loved ones, leaving food and liquor at their burial sites and burning fake money as an offering. (China Daily/Zou Hong)

Thousands gather to commemorate common ancestor of Chinese nation

More than 10,000 Chinese from home and abroad gathered to pay respects to the common ancestor of all Chinese people on Thursday morning in Shaanxi province.

Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor, is believed to have unified tribes along the Yellow River Valley and founded the Chinese nation and culture 5,000 years ago, according to Chinese legend.

The memorial service took place at the tomb of the Yellow Emperor in Huangling county, and started with 34 drum strikes, one for each of the mainland's 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, as well as Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Fifty-six dragon flags unfurled in the wind, representing China's 56 ethnic groups.

"All Chinese around the world, be it from the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, or abroad, share the common ancestor and the common dream," said Lou Qinjian, governor of Shaanxi, in his eulogy. "The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is on the horizon."

The ceremony lasted about 40 minutes and ended with a performance in which a 56-meter-long yellow dragon was raised toward the sky.

The Chinese Dream of national renewal was initiated by President Xi Jinping two weeks after his election as Party chief when he visited "The Road Toward Renewal" exhibition in Beijing on Nov 29.

Shannxi provincial government has been organizing annual public memorial services since 1994 to remember the Yellow Emperor on the traditional Tomb Sweeping Day.

Compared to the previous ones, this year's ceremony was shorter and there was an absence of traffic controls in response to the call from the Party Central Committee to improve officials' work style.

"Although there is more traffic on the road, the lifting of the traffic controls does real good to long-haul truck drivers who no longer have to get stuck on the road and wait for one or two hours," said Liu Xiaobin, a local journalist who has been covering the memorial ceremony for 16 years.

Official statistics show that more than 100,000 Chinese from around the world have attended the ceremonies over the past two decades to worship the common ancestor of all Chinese people.

"Although I felt belittled by the grand history of the Chinese nation, I'm still confident in realizing the Chinese Dream," said Wang Ping-chung, a 27-year-old Taiwan student who came to the ceremony on a youth delegation led by Taiwan New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming.

Wang, a graduate student majoring in diplomacy and international relations at National Chengchi University in Taipei, has been to the mainland on many occasions, but mostly to big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

"I have a special feeling for the vast land in northern China and have always wanted to see it for myself.

"I believe the Chinese Dream should include both the mainland and Taiwan," said Wang. "I believe in a rejuvenated China in which people all live a well-off life, and there will be reunification across the Straits."

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