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Tuesday, December 21, 1999, updated at 13:00(GMT+8)
China Paraders Hail Macao's Return to Motherland

More than 4,000 Macao residents launched the largest ever parade December 20 in Macao to mark Macao's return to the motherland at midnight Sunday .

The two-hour parade dubbed as "March towards Prosperous Future" was sponsored by the Executive Committee of the Commission of Various Sectors of Macao for Celebrating Macao's Return to the


"Everyone wants to express his or her best wishes for a bright future of Macao through participating this parade," said Lau Sin Peng, deputy director of the executive committee.

The paraders were organized into 21 formations and 26 performing squads, driving 24 colorful floats.

Over 80 percent of the paraders, Lau said, were local residents with some at their 70s and the youngest being seven years old. The rest were Macao-born Portuguese and foreigners. They included

housewives, teachers, workers, business people, monks, priests and athletes.

Some of the paraders gave performances like dragon dances while others beat gongs and drums amidst the strains of traditional Chinese and Portuguese music pieces. And the onlookers on both

sides of the 1,999-meter long route designated for the parade waved miniature Chinese national flags and the regional flags of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).

"The parade is a full display of pluralism in local culture," said Lau, adding that since ancient times, Macao has been a meeting place for people with different backgrounds and different


The parade has been a new proof to what the First Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah of the Macao SAR said at an earlier celebration meeting to mark the founding of the Macao SAR, "Macao

is home to citizens of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds who have coexisted in harmony, and this every special feature will continue into the new era."

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