10/02/2007, 00.00
CHINA
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About 150 million people on the move for ‘Golden Week’ holidays

National holiday time has begun; public security authorities are on maximum alert, concerned by traffic jams, stations and tourist sties. Yesterday founding of People’s Republic of China was celebrated.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – About 150 million people are expected to travel for their ‘Golden Week’ holidays, which began yesterday, October 1, anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The Public Security minister warned all local public security departments to be on alert on main roads, stations and tourist sites.

In Shanghai alone the authorities estimate that 4.2 million people will visit the city over the holidays; 300,000 tourists have already invaded Beijing, a million flower pots placed in major parks to form 25 theme parterres featuring the Olympic Games.

Yesterday more than 100,000 people made an early start to the day at Tiananmen Square, watching the flag-raising ceremony amid drizzle at dawn, celebrating the 58th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The whole country commemorated the event, in original ways in many places: in Changsha, Hunan province, city officials organised about 10,000 government employees to clean streets and railway stations to celebrate National Day, while more than 300 citizens in Kunming, Yunnan province, donated blood.

The government launched the "Golden Week" holiday scheme, which encompasses the week-long Spring Festival, Labour Day and National Day holidays, in 1999, to give people more time to travel or rest.

It also shows how much the government has bought into a consumer mentality.

However, these prolonged periods of holidays tend to cause serious traffic jams, poor service and other problems—some envisage scrapping the scheme altogether and revive traditional public holidays.

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