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A million flowers bloom

[ 2009-09-21 13:05]     字号 [] [] []  
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Beijing's million-member army of National Day volunteers went on the march yesterday helping visitors pouring into the capital.

And what was the most common question asked by these newcomers attracted by massive celebrations and holiday?

"Where's the toilet?" according to many volunteers.

With only 10 days to go to the nation's 60th anniversary celebrations, Beijing dramatically bettered its successful Olympic volunteer campaign by doubling its 500,000-member volunteer team.

From primary school students to retired residents, nearly everyone has been recruited and asked to do their bit and guide visitors in the right directions.

"We are Bejingers. If we don't do this responsibility, who else will do it?" said Wu Jianxin, a community committee official. Wu looks after three hutongs near Dongsi area in downtown Beijing.

And all types of tradesmen are being recruited.

"We have even urged the locksmith to be a security volunteer, because he knows the neighborhood and travels back and forth in the area on his speedy motorbike," said Wu, pointing to a middle-aged man in a long brown coat with a red armband that reads in both Chinese and English: “Beijing Security Volunteer”.

Security volunteers also work as assistants to the local police, Wu said. Everything that goes on in the community during the day is under their watch while they return the patrol responsibilities to the police at night.

Restaurant owners, barbers and shopkeepers along Beijing's streets were all given a red armband and everybody is wearing them with pride.

"Everyone gets one from the community committee. At least this is one of the universal benefits we receive as migrant workers in Beijing," joked Chen Gangquan, owner of a Sichuan restaurant.

The sea of red armbands will frighten the potential attackers, the community official explained.

The red armbands were seen in great numbers last Friday night as well as army officers and police on the Chang'an avenue, where armored vehicles of the Chinese army marched for their last National Day parade rehearsal.

Beijing's government has reactivated its city volunteers program during the weekend. More than 200 blue movable volunteer stations were reopened for the first time since the Olympics.

Volunteers wearing the blue uniforms, which copy the outfits worn during the Games, will start working four hours a day this week. Next week, they will double their working time to eight hours a day to help tourists find their way around.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

A million flowers bloom

About the broadcaster:

A million flowers bloom

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.