A couple of nights ago, we were invited for dinner by the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs which was held at the Great Hall of the People for senior foreign experts. I was lucky enough to be invited to accompany my husband who is a professor of law. It is an annual affair but this year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China so it was a particularly significant event. There were over 1700 people present and dinner was truly a feast. Preparing a banquet for that many people is no small feat! We were told it would be on the evening news as it seems that this annual event is actually quite well known by the Chinese people. The large hall where we were seated was filled with music by a 50 person military band. I enjoyed the music that they played as it had a very festive and patriotic spirit to it.
The highlight of my evening was when the band played the Chinese National Anthem as we all stood at our tables. I felt very proud in that moment to be living in China and extremely honored to be invited to such a momentous occasion. I was quite moved as I stood there realizing what a special evening it was. After the National Anthem, there was a speech given by China’s State Council Vice-Premier, Li Keqiang, who shared that, “China opens its arms to the outside world, and welcomes more overseas experts to participate in China’s modernization and work hand in hand with the 1.3 billion Chinese people for the country’s national prosperity and strength, for the progress of human civilization, and for world peace and harmonious development.” So beautifully stated! I look forward to this week’s festivities and fireworks. It truly was an honor to be invited to such a wonderful evening.
Just before the dinner, outside of our home.
Inside the Great Hall of the People. Such a massive structure and the rooms were also huge.