We are soon to be celebrating the Chinese National Day, one of the most important holidays in China. This day’s celebrations commemorate the inauguration of the People’s Republic of China on Saturday 1 October 1949.
All historians agree that the proclamation of PRC was a groundbreaking change in Chinese history. It ended the elongated war period, which started in 1932, when the Japanese invaded Manchuria, and continued after the end of WWII as the civil war between the Nationalists and Communist forces. The war has taken the life of 20 to 30 million people.
In February 1949, Nationalists forces had surrendered and peacefully left the city of Beijing. The city itself was nothing like the today’s Beijing – encircled by city walls, filled with low buildings and narrow alleyways (called hutongs). When Mao Zedong decided to proclaim the new state, he has chosen the Tiananmen Gate, an entrance to the former imperial palace as the place for proclamation. The famous Tiananmen Square, which was much smaller than today, was crowded with people, a military parade was organized and joyous dances followed. Three days later, the new China has obtained an official recognition by the USSR, Soviet bloc countries followed soon.
Since then, every year is a big celebration, every ten year a major scale military parade is being held on Tiananmen Square, which is a good occasion for Chinese government to show its most advanced warfare. What is more important for foreign visitors, the Chinese people enjoy an one week-long vacation, shopping centers are of course open, but customs offices, universities and governmental offices are shut down. This period means an increased consumption, the number of tourist rises, so travelling in China gets harder. In order to avoid those difficulties, we should plan our trip to China with consideration and avoid the period which follows the National Day. Those, who cooperate with China’s governmental officials (in China or abroad) will possibly be invited for official receptions and lavish, festive dinners. To paraphrase the old proverb: when with Chinese do as the Chinese do: we shall eagerly join those celebrations and congratulate the Chinese on their motherland’s 64th anniversary.