© Reuters. A giant screen broadcasts live images of Chinese President Xi Jinping presenting the July 1 medal to prominent party member Wang Shumao at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People, ahead of the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of Chi.
By Yew Lun Tian
BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday urged members of the Communist Party of China to remain loyal and continue to serve the people, while awarding a new medal of honor to 29 members as part of centennial celebrations. of the ruling party this week.
The medal ceremony was held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing with much fanfare and was broadcast live on national television as the party prepares to mark its centenary on Thursday.
The “July 1 medal,” announced in 2017 and presented for the first time on Tuesday, is part of Xi’s efforts to shore up the image of one of the world’s most powerful political parties.
He urged all members to “keep loyalty and love for the party and the people firmly in your heart, turn that into action, dedicate everything, including your precious life, to the party and the people.”
Honored for their “outstanding contributions” to the party, the honorees included soldiers, community workers and professionals in the arts and sciences.
The Communist Party of China had 91.9 million members in 2019, or 6.6% of China’s population, and has ruled the country since 1949.
As part of the anniversary week celebrations, the party also hosted a gala performance on Monday night at the National Stadium, or “Bird’s Nest,” as it is commonly called.
Party leaders and foreign diplomats saw the extravagance of song, dance and theater that credited the party with guiding China’s rise to great power over the past century.
The darkest parts of the party’s history, including a famine in the late 1950s, the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, were omitted from the show.
The show culminated with the audience singing the song “Without the Communist Party, there would be no New China” and five minutes of fireworks.
Many Chinese celebrated the celebration by posting good wishes for the country and the party on social media.
Some comments were less cheerful.
“Only when house prices fall can people start to feel happy,” reads a comment, which received 39 “likes.”
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