AP PHOTOS: China marks National Day with flag-raising, toast

BEIJING (AP) — Spectators watched a masked, 96-member honor guard raise a Chinese flag on Tiananmen Square as the ruling Communist Party marked its 73rd anniversary in power on Saturday under strict anti-virus controls.

The flag-raising at sunrise was one of the few National Day events planned after authorities called on the public to avoid travel during what usually is one of the country’s busiest tourism periods.

National Day marks the anniversary of the Oct. 1, 1949, founding of the People’s Republic of China by then-leader Mao Zedong following a civil war. The former ruling Nationalist Party left for Taiwan, now a self-ruled democracy.

In Hong Kong, Chief Executive John Lee promised to revive the battered economy. He wore a red mask the color of the Chinese flag and was flanked by masked dignitaries at a downtown convention center.

In Taiwan, which Beijing claims as part of its territory, members of the pro-mainland Taiwan People’s Communist Party raised a Chinese flag in the southern city of Tainan and released red balloons and white doves. About 150 people took part.

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