BEIJING, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- More than 80,000 people from across China rallied at Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing at daybreak Monday to watch the raising of the national flag.
The crowd stood in silence when the national anthem was played and the five-star flag was raised on its mast.
Though the ceremony is held every morning, Monday's event drew a larger-than-normal crowd of tourists and local residents who chose to celebrate the National Day at the square.
Monday marks the 63rd founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
"I've made money from the Tibetan medicine trade just so I can afford to make this trip with my son," said Chu Rong Je, a Tibetan businessman from Heshui County of Aba Prefecture in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
Chu Rong Je's home county was flattened in the 2008 earthquake. With a government subsidy, his family moved into a new home and their medicine business became prosperous again. "We're grateful the government helped us out during our time of hardship."
Three students from Beijing Sport University hiked more than four hours Sunday night from their campus in the northwest of the city to Tian'anmen Square. "Hiking made the trip feel more like a pilgrimage," said He Yuliang. "We're proud to witness the raising of the flag here."
More than 200 million people have witnessed the flag-raising ceremony at Tian'anmen Square since the ritual began in May, 1991, official figures said.