BEIJING (AFP) - Thousands of children took over Beijing's Tiananmen Square Thursday, staging a mass sports and games demonstration as part of the city's effort to drum up enthusiasm for next year's Olympics.
Under the banner of "Harmonious China awaiting the Olympics," organisers said 10,000 children, some as young as four, had been called in for the morning festivities on the eve of the annual world Children's Day.
Games included football, badminton and gymnastics, while dance troops, cheers squads and around 2,000 practitioners of the ancient wushu martial art, including students from the famous Shaolin Monastery, gave performances.
A group of around 2,000 youngsters also gathered in formation in the shapes of the five Olympic rings and the year 2008.
Boy, you'd think the Chinese Communist Party would pick some other location for these sorts of activities, given that the Western media will always tack on something like this to any story about mass gatherings in Tiananmen Square:
Mass rallies on the central square are considered sensitive for national security reasons as the anniversary of the June 4, 1989 massacre approaches.
After weeks of pro-democracy rallies 18 years ago, Chinese troops moved in to crush the protests, killing hundreds and possibly thousands of people.
Gee, crush one pro-democracy rally with the loss of hundreds and possibly thousands of innocent lives, and no one ever lets you live it down. Life is so unfair.