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By Hnin Si Khaing | | Updated: Jan 29, 2022

[Myanmar] Hnin Si Khaing, China University of Political Science and Law

Hnin Si Khaing [Photo provided to]

October 1 is the National Day of China. Grand celebration activities are held on this day every year. On October 1, 2019, the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China was grandly held in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Around 100,000 people participated in the civil parade after the celebration and military parade ceremony, walking along Chang’an Avenue from east to west, passing through the core area of Tiananmen Square.

As a international student, I had never thought of being on the spot and participating in the event. However, I got this precious opportunity and participated in the grand civil parade as a member of foreigner parade team. The parade was called “Build Chinese Dream with Concerted Hearts.” Now recalling what was happening that day, I still felt excited as if everything was alive before me again.

I was the first to apply for the enrollment in June 2019 when my university published the national day parade notification. I longed for walking across Tiananmen Square on this special day and seeing the Chinese president with my own eyes. Altogether 19 overseas students from China University of Political Science and Law was chosen to participate in the national day parade. We started our tight-scheduled training and rehearsal from end of August and our last rehearsal was arranged in Grand Canal Forest Park in Tongzhou District on September 13.

Our university was located in Changping district, which were more than 70 kilometers away from the park. We headed for the park early in the morning. When we arrived at the park, we saw hundreds of Chinese and overseas students from several universities in Beijing. I came across several friends from Myanmar who studied in other universities. What a pleasure to meet friends from the home country in foreign countries!

On September 21 we had our first and only real onsite rehearsal on Chang’an Avenue. At 2:00 am, we started from our university in Changping district, got together with students from other universities in the University of International Business and Economics and headed for Chang’an Avenue. Before rehearsal we sat on roadside and took a break. There were altogether 36 square teams in national day parade. The square team we were in was the 32rd, called “Community of Shared Future”.

There were altogether 1,935 people in this team, including 300 foreigners from 96 countries. This square team was the only team which had foreigners. We came from all over the world, including students and non-students. Because we were all “internationals”, we became familiar with each other very soon. We shared our experience in work and study in Beijing with joy and exchanged our views on this national day parade.

Duansheng building of China University of Political Science and Law [Photo provided by Hnin Si Khaing]

There were lots of funny stories in the training and rehearsal. For example, a Chinese friend in our team did not know that I could speak Chinese and he tried very hard to speak English with me. Our trainers also tried hard to explain everything to me in English. When I replied them in Chinese, they were astonished with great appreciation. I gloated over my performance of speaking Chinese.

It was finally worthy of all these years of efforts in learning. I became a friend of this Chinese team member. When I talked about the national day parade with him, I could tell from his glistering eyes how excited he was. I heard that preparations were started a year ago for this very important and grand event. It was not exaggerating at all if you were in the event in real person. I saw their concerted efforts, their dedication and passion. Through what I heard and saw in almost two months, I was deeply touched by the enthusiasm and expectations of Chinese people toward this grand event as well as their deep love and pride in their country.

At 10:00 pm that night, the final national day parade rehearsal started. Singing, floats, crowds and slogans were in the air. Walking along Chang’an Avenue, we were like waves in happy oceans though it was late in the night.

The national day, October 1, which we had long been looking forward to, finally came! All members of our square team “Community of Shared Future” were ready to go. In the rapture noise of gongs and drums, our team, both Chinese and foreigners, walked shoulder by shoulder across Chang’an Avenue. When we were passing Tiananmen Square, a melodious rhythm A-thousand-year Commitmentrang in the air.

Facing Tiananmen, we waved bundles of flowers in our hands, hailed, and jumped for joy. We shouted “China! China! Happy Birthday!” At that moment, I wish I could be much louder so that my excitement could be known by the whole world. I saw from a distance that General Secretary Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders were standing on the Tiananmen Rostrum and were waving toward us. Airplanes were flying in the sky, flowers and crowds were surging on the land. There were joy and excitement everywhere. This was my vivid memories about the national day parade.

Constitution Avenue, China University of Political Science and Law  [Photo provided by Hnin Si Khaing]

I published a post immediately after the parade, posting some onsite pictures which I took for the celebration. Lots of people gave me a “like” under my post. We returned to school in the afternoon. Though feeling tired, I was very happy and excited. I believe this was my most memorable day in China. I was so lucky and honored that I could participate in the celebration ceremony. I witnessed the 70th anniversary of PRC with thousands of people and saw in my own eyes how much Chinese people love their country on the largest city square – Tiananmen Square.

Late that night I recalled the night before I returned to my home. I could not sleep and my heart went boom. Though I had been longing for studying in Beijing, I still felt restless and anxious since it was my first time to leave my parents and friends and to go to an unfamiliar city. To calm down myself, I turned on a radio App Himalaya and listened to some channels. Then a host introduced a song called Blue Beijing Dream. On hearing the word, Beijing, I sat up and listened attentively.

This song sang about the confused and lost feelings of people working or studying in Beijing (they were called Beijing Drifters). Would I soon become a Beijing Drifter? Would I also forget what color my dream was as sung in the song? The host asked whether people could see the color of dreams in the neon lights of Beijing. I did not know if dreams had colors or what colors dreams were. However, I knew definitely that my dream was to go to Beijing. I wanted to set my feet on the land of Beijing, to see the prosperity of Beijing, to visit historical sceneries and spots of Beijing, to listen to Chinese crosstalk and to watch Peking Opera.

I wanted to know this nation with long history. This was my dream, which could be realized only in China. And now it came true. I suddenly realized that the experience of national day parade enabled me a new dream. That day people from all over the world were carrying shoulder by shoulder the float “Community of Shared Future”, which was truly a beautiful shared vision of humankind, and tomorrow we will be passing our beautiful vision to all corners of the world and striving for achieving this new dream.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).