May Day in Peking was celebrated in Peking on Monday (I May) with festive overtones--but on a more subdued level than in the past and without the appearance of Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-Tung or other high-ranking officials.
May Day in Peking was celebrated in Peking on Monday (I May) with festive overtones--but on a more subdued level than in the past and without the appearance of Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-Tung or other high-ranking officials. Instead, an estimated half-million people from all areas of the People's Republic of China flocked to the capital, and most of them spent the day touring the city or simply relaxing.
Dances and plays were performed in many of Peking's parks and their themes were less military than in previous years.
The Summer Palace grounds was just one place where people could watch open-air entertainment. Gone from the plays and dances was the strong anti-American sentiment which dominated last October's National Day celebrations and previous May Day festivities. In fact, the United States wasn't mentioned at all and only some performances had as their topic the struggle of the developing nations against imperialism, colonialism and revisionism.
The traditional dazzling fireworks display wasn't held this year and Chairman Mao's Little Red Book of Quotations wasn't featured either.
Despite storms on Monday afternoon, the parks of Peking were crowded and many took the opportunity to go boating in some of the capital's lakes.
But for many people, the Zoological Gardens was the prime attraction. Special guides were assigned to move the crowds along. Almost without exception, visitors wanted to see the American Musk Oxen, given to the Chinese People by American President Nixon in return for two Giant Pandas now on show in the United States.
There have been reports, however, that the oxen aren't fully adjusting to the Chinese climate and only one of the pair was on show on Monday.
Although this year's May Day observations were more subdued than in the past, a number of celebration parties took place in the capital attended by various Chinese leaders. According to the New China News Agency, more than 4,000 foreign guests from five continents took part in the celebration parties with the Chinese workers and other revolutionary people.