BEIJING - Nearly 120,000 people flooded Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing ahead of daybreak on Saturday to witness the flag-raising ceremony and celebrate National Day.
The crowd cheered and applauded as the five-star national flag was hoisted up.
"We love our country," said Zhu Langlang, a freshman from Beijing Union University who arrived at the square at 2 am with a dozen classmates. "We hope China will grow stronger and our countrymen will lead even better lives."
Tiananmen Square was decked out with flags and lanterns and crowded with a multitude of sightseers eager to mark National Day in the typical way: witnessing the raising of the flag and touring the square.
"I was born in 1949, the same year that New China was founded," said a tourist from Tianjin surnamed Liu. "The country has changed greatly over the years and we should cherish our happy lives."
On Saturday morning, President Hu Jintao led the country's senior leaders in marking the 62nd founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China, and paying respect to the heroes who died for the country's independence and prosperity by placing flower baskets at the Monument to the People's Heroes on the Tian'anmen Square.
More than 700 school children in the city of Tongliao in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region lined up on campus early Saturday morning, each holding a piece of jigsaw puzzle that would create a 15-meter long, 10-meter wide national flag.
"It's a unique way to celebrate National Day and I don't mind getting up early on the holiday," said Wang Juntong, a fourth grader at Horqin Experimental Primary School in the Horqin grasslands.
In Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian province, nearly 200 students celebrated National Day by visiting a cemetery for heroes.
"It's important to learn history and remember the heroes who died for our country," said Xu Jingyi, a fourth-year student from Xiamen's Minli Primary School.
An exhibition marking 100 years since the 1911 Revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen drew large crowds of visitors in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu province.
"It's very impressive," said Wang Huawen, a tourist from southwestern Yunnan province. "I've always dreamed of visiting Dr. Sun's former office abode."
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution, which broke out on October 10, 1911 and overthrew the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to end thousands of years of feudalism in China. Dr. Sun Yat-sen is revered as the forerunner of China's revolution to end feudalism.
Celebrations on "Roof of the world"
More than 3,000 Tibetans gathered on a square in front of the Potala Palace in the heart of Lhasa Saturday morning to mark National Day.
The crowd, composed of people from various ethnic groups and all walks of life, attended a grand flag-raising ceremony at 10 am and sang the national anthem in chorus.
Tsering Drolkar, 68, attended the ceremony dressed in a traditional Tibetan costume. "It's an important occasion. I'm happy and content with my life," he said, posing for a photo in front of the red-and-white Potala Palace and the national flag.
Tibet has shifted from impoverished to prosperous, and from isolated to open in tandem with the growth of New China, said Qin Yizhi, secretary of Lhasa's municipal committee of the Communist Party of China.
October 1 also marks the 60th founding anniversary of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in neighboring Qinghai province.
A grand ceremony marking National Day and the autonomous prefecture's founding was held Saturday at the Yushu Secondary School of Nationalities, a new school built to replace the one that was destroyed in last year's devastating earthquake.
"It's a happy occasion to celebrate the achievements of our country and our prefecture," said Yushu's Governor Wang Yuhu. "We all feel grateful for the central government's support for Yushu's development and will work harder for a better future."
Yushu, located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is the origin of the China's three major rivers, the Yangtze, the Yellow River and the Lancang River.
Gyatso and his wife hung a national flag outside their new home before sitting down for breakfast on Saturday. They moved into the new house in Hashu Mema town only 10 days ago.
"We never dreamed we could live in such a nice home," said Gyatso, whose new home was built with government subsidies after his old home was toppled in last year's earthquake.