Soldiers rally to honor and remember the deceased national heroes at the Monument to the People's Heroes in the Tian'anmen Square in central Beijing, on September 30, on the occasion of the Martyrs' Day (XINHUA)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior leaders attended a ceremony Wednesday at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing to honor and remember deceased national heroes on Martyrs' Day.
Veterans wearing medals on their chests, family members of martyrs and representatives of all walks of life also gathered at the Monument to the People's Heroes in Tian'anmen Square to mark the country's second Martyrs' Day on the eve of the 66th National Day.
The marble monument, the foundation of which was laid on September 30, 1949, stood tall against a blue sky. On the pedestal of the monument are eight reliefs depicting major episodes in Chinese revolutionary history since the First Opium War (1840-1842).
A military band played trumpets to commemorate martyrs before the ceremony started. Honor guards stood in two lines with guns in front of the monument.
Martyrs, as defined by the Government, are "people who sacrificed their lives for national independence and prosperity, as well as the welfare of people in modern times, or after the First Opium War."
It is estimated that China's martyrs number around 20 million.
At 10 a.m., a crowd of around 3,000 people chanted the national anthem. Then they bowed their heads in silent tribute to those who devoted their lives to the liberation of the Chinese people and the development of new China, which was founded in 1949.
Following a patriotic song by school children in white shirts and red scarves, the uniform of China's Young Pioneers organization, 18 honor guards laid nine baskets of flowers in front of the monument.
The baskets were presented in the names of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, China's top legislature, the State Council, the top political advisory body, the Central Military Commission, democratic parties and non-party individuals, mass organizations, veterans, senior people and the families of martyrs, as well as China's Young Pioneers organization.
President Xi tidied red ribbons on one of the baskets and led a group of senior officials on a walk of tribute around the monument.
School children and other participants followed them and laid their bouquets of chrysanthemums at the foot of the monument.
China's top legislature approved September 30 as Martyrs' Day last year to commemorate those who lost their lives fighting for national independence and prosperity.
Xi returned to Beijing Tuesday after his state visit to the United States and attending a series of UN summits.
Wednesday's event was the second time this month for China to hold grand commemoration ceremonies at Tian'anmen Square.
On September 3, the country commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression with a full-dress military parade at the square.
Xi said during his Victory Day speech that China will remain committed to peaceful development.
"No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation," Xi said. He also announced a cut of 300,000 troops from the country's military.
(Xinhua News Agency September 30, 2015)