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China marks Martyrs' Day at Tian'anmen Square

Updated: 2015-09-30 10:45

China marks Martyrs' Day at Tian'anmen Square

A screen grab from CCTV shows a memorial ceremony to mark Martyrs' Day at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, on Sept 30, 2015.

BEIJING - 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.

Premier Li Keqiang, top political advisor Zhang Dejiang, senior leader Liu Yunshan, top discipline inspector Wang Qishan and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli also attended the event.

The marble monument, the foundation of which was laid on Sept. 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.

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