Posted by: mel | October 2, 2009

China Marks 60th Birthday with Pomp and Fare

Jakarta Post | Kanupriya Kapoor and Veeramalla Anjaiah ,  Jakarta | World | 2 October 2009

Sharing a light moment: Former presidents Megawati Soekarnoputri (center) and B.J. Habibie (left) share a light moment during a grand reception to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China at Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta, on Thursday, while host Chinese Ambassador Zhang Qiyue (right) looks on. JP/Wendra Ajistyatama

Sharing a light moment: Former presidents Megawati Soekarnoputri (center) and B.J. Habibie (left) share a light moment during a grand reception to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China at Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta, on Thursday, while host Chinese Ambassador Zhang Qiyue (right) looks on. JP/Wendra Ajistyatama

Motorists passing the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta faced a dilemma on Thursday evening. What was going on in that elite hotel, creating all the traffic chaos?

A stream of vehicles entering the hotel were moving at snail’s pace. And even after entering the hotel, the problem was not over. There were also long queues to get into the hotel ballroom.

It was none other than celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China – one of the most spectacular colorful and joyous celebrations held so far in Jakarta this year.

Colors and images of China greeted the large number of guests, among whom were two former presidents – Megawati Soekarnoputri and B.J. Habibie – as well as Women’s Empowerment Minister Meutia Farida Hatta Swasono, Foreign Ministry’s Secretary-General Imron Cotan, lawmakers, politicians, intellectuals, artists, top businesspeople, scholars, diplomats, military generals and prominent public figures of both Chinese and Indonesian Chinese communities.

There were even 60 special little guests from the Harapan Bangsa Primary School who were there to sing the national anthems of Indonesia and China.

As a close friend of Indonesia, on behalf of its government and people, Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Zhang Qiyue extended condolences to the families of victims of Wednesday’s deadly earthquake in West Sumatra, saying that the Chinese government and Red Cross would provide US$500,000 in emergency aid to the people of Padang.

“We are with you, Indonesia,” Zhang said to loud applause from the vast audience.

Thursday was a proud moment for every Chinese person on the planet, including the big Chinese community in Indonesia.

“Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese people, with painstaking efforts and wisdom, have transformed the once impoverished and backward old China into a modern country of prosperity and strength,” Zhang said in her speech.

The huge ballroom was not large enough to accommodate the 2,000 guests.

“Actually, we sent invitations to 1,500 guests. I think we have more than 1,500 here,” Wang Yan, the Chinese Embassy’s press officer, told The Jakarta Post.

The entire perimeter of the spacious Shangri-La Ballroom was laid out with authentic Chinese food, including signature dishes sharks fin soup, dimsum, Peking duck and mooncakes. Dishes from Sichuan, Hainan, Shanghai and Hong Kong also featured in the lavish buffet. However, it was not easy to get a taste of these delicacies because everywhere there were long queues. There was a free flow of wines, beers and juices.

Various parts of China were also represented in the entertainment for the evening, which featured traditional dancers and singers from China.

“We come to this event every year, and this time it is special because of the music and dance,” said Juliana Tjandra, the director of the World Association of Chinese Medicinem, who lives in Jakarta.

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