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Tuesday, December 21, 1999, updated at 16:33(GMT+8)
China Beijing Gala to Honor Return of Macao

More than 10,000 viewers and performers gathered at the Beijing Capital Indoor Stadium on the evening of December 20, singing and dancing joyously to express their utmost joy and immense pride in Macao's return to the motherland.

It is really a night of revelry. Crowds of Beijing residents flocked into the brightly-lit, well-burnished indoor stadium, which was hung with bunting, red lanterns and colorful lights.

Party and government leaders, personalities of all walks of life in the Chinese capital and foreign diplomatic envoys joined in the joyous event which lasted nearly two hours.

Tonight's huge group of performing artists included 33 spare-time local choirs, and popular artists from China's interior, Hong Kong and Macao. Moreover, some prestigious performing arts

residing overseas have also made special trips to Beijing for the re-union and joyous event.

The national television station, or the CCTV, televised live the program, which enabled hundreds of millions of people throughout China to share the joy and festivity.

The program was divided into two parts, namely, a celebration rally and a large-scale performance themed "Sun and Moon Shining over China, in celebration of Macao's Return." It began with a chorus based on late Chinese leader Mao Zedong's poem "Snow, to the Tune of Spring in a Pleasure Garden."

"Seeing what the northern countries show: hundreds of leagues ice-bound go, and thousands of leagues flies snow, a magnificent winter scene in north China," Late Chairman Mao in this poem,

citing eminent emperors of various dynasties in the history of China, exclaimed "Brilliant heroes are those whom we will see today."

As a matter of fact, the return of Macao today is attributed to the prolonged and hard efforts of the three successive collective leaderships of the Party central committees with Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin respectively at the core.

Chen Jingdong, a nine-year-old primary school pupil from Macao, is the youngest leading singer of a chorus tonight. As Macao has returned, he said, "my biggest wish now is to learn and speak the Chines well, so that I will be able to have even easier access for a better look at the Summer Palace and ascend for a better view of the world famous Great Wall."

One pop singer on the spot light was Cheung Ming-man, who had been among the first group of Hong Kong singers coming to perform in the interior area ever since China began to implement its

reform and opening policies back in the late 1970s.

The song "My Chinese Heart" he sang tonight is now on the lips of his fans across China, old and young, and man and woman. The melody once again resounded in the spacious hall, and thousands of audience members, while joined in the singing themselves, waved red national flags and green flags of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).

This song, which is now loved by the people of China, overseas Chinese and foreign nationals of the Chinese origin, gives an expression to the aspirations of the entire Chinese for Hong Kong's return to the motherland in 1997.

Afterwards, two pupils, both nine years of age, from Pui Ching School, a Chinese language school in Macao, performed the "Song of Seven Sons", composed from a poem of the late writer Wen Yiduo of the 1930s and 1940s in this century, which compared Macao, Hong Kong and five other Chinese places under foreign occupation then to the sons compelled to leave their mother.

"The return of Macao today opens up a new era in the history of Macao. From today on, our compatriots in Macao will truly become the masters of that land," President Jiang Zemin told the

jubilant gathering in celebration of Macao's return to China. His words drew round after round of enthusiastic applause and resounded throughout the fully-packed indoor stadium.

Act one presented viewers with a variety of "gems" of China's divine land with vivid scenes. Against a backdrop of embroidered brocade, bamboo slips and stone inscriptions came colorfully-clad girls carrying huge pottery jars on their heads, boys dragging huge writing brushes, sword-playing lads showing their superb skills on giant projection of centuries-old Chinese characters --all crowd pleasers reflecting the diversity of China's ancient traditions.

"I especially liked the glazed pottery carried by the girls," said 63-year old Lu Yue-chen from Taiwan. "It is a form of our traditional culture, a kind of link between our Chinese, no matter whether they live in Macao, on the motherland or any other place in the world."

"It is my sincere hope that our Chinese nation will achieve complete reunification as soon as possible," said Lu, a chorus member in tonight's gala.

However, miserable scenes from the following acts brought back to the memory of audience members to the moving and tragic years a century ago.

A dialogue of performers praised feats of Deng Shichang, a patriotic general and a navy commander, who fought courageously and died a heroic death in a sea battle during Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 launched by Japanese troops to intrude into China then, and Lin Zexu, an imperial court official of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) who enforced the ban of British opium around the 1840s.

"History is not to be forgotten," said a teary-eyed, frail Guo Zuoze, who participated in the Student Movement in Beijing more than 50 years ago.

"I'm glad that the days when China was bullied are gone forever, " Guo told reporters. "China has been turning stronger and more powerful with each passing day and I'm proud to live in this time."

Tonight's Capital Indoor Stadium was a huge showcase for 5,000 years of Chinese culture, which was displayed on a stage of some 2,200 square meters, the largest of the kind in this country.

With the big Chinese character "Gui" appeared on the backdrop of the stage, singers from both Beijing and Macao performed the dancing and singing item "homecoming," the theme song for Hong

Kong's 1997 return to the motherland.

The rally ended with a rendition of the song of "Singing in Praise of the Motherland." Performers dressed in costumes of China's 56 ethnic groups joined in the song while the huge design of a large Chinese national emblem flunked by the flag and emblem of

the Macao Special Administrative Region projected on the backdrop, pushing the party to its climax.

Lu Jiankang, the designer of tonight's show as well as the 1997 party greeting Hong Kong's return, told Xinhua that he is now looking forward to the day when he can design a grand event for Taiwan's eventual return to the motherland.

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