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Beijing Parade
- Today & Yesterday

26 September 2006

It was a beautiful autumn Sunday morning. Along the CBD Chaoyang avenue, Beijing International Tourism-Culture Festival 2006 held a carnival parade of spectacular floats and multi-cultural street entertainment which are joined by 2,500 performers from China and other 33 countries, many of them are tourists. The organisers have a clear intention to make it a special preview of what will be like on the Beijing streets during the Olympic 2008: a party that transcends the barriers of race, culture and faith.

Classic Confucius basically does not believe in absolute evilness in any human individual ("人之初性本善"), but regards that "within the four seas, we are all brothers" ("四海之内皆兄弟"). Instead of dividing people into opposing camps, it pursuits a utopia of one humanity one family ("世界大同").

As this year’s Beijing festival tries to reflect the traditional teachings as such, it makes a sharp contrast to the Beijing parades of the past.

During the Culture Revolution years when very Western idea of class struggle became the core message of the official doctrine, the annual Beijing parades in Tiananmen Square were more a demonstration of one camp’s solidarity against another than a celebration of the national unity. Accordingly, the parades looked pathetically like performed by an army of robots.

A parade of '70s in the Tiananmen Square

A participant later described what she remembered of the occasion:

"When our arts matrix passed the three-tier watch stands, I saw the leaders, representatives and foreign dignitaries were all watching us. I stood on a float with a fixed ‘stride forward’ posture, and kept in this way for a good 20 minutes."

A float of '70s displaying new industry product passed the Tiananmen Square

Source of the original colour photos: Zhou Yao (周跃), Beijing Scientists Association Info Centre (市科协信息中心) – Beijing Science Net (首都科技网)


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