BEIJING, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- China's top leaders laid flower baskets at the Monument to the People's Heroes in the heart of Beijing on Wednesday morning to mark the 59th anniversary of the country's founding.
At the monument in Tian'anmen Square, all nine members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee participated in the ceremony to pay their respects to those who sacrificed for the nation's independence.
Led by President Hu Jintao, the members -- including Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang -- laid the baskets, accompanied by 18 military honor guards.
The leaders then walked around the monument, paying their respects as they viewed inscriptions on its sides that depict the history of China's modern struggle.
"This year also marks the 30th anniversary of China's opening up and reform policy," said Liu Zhigang, a 36-year-old doctor from southwest China's Sichuan Province, who brought his family to watch the ceremony.
"We won the fight against the snow and earthquake disasters, which gives us great encouragement and inspiration," he said. "The successful hosting of the Beijing Olympic Games and the Shenzhou-7space mission also promote our country's international status.
"All of these made this year's National Day particularly meaningful to us," he said.
More than 5,000 people gathered in the square decorated with national flags, Beijing Olympic mascots and models of the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft and stood in silent tribute after China's national anthem.
The ceremony was presided over by Liu Qi, who is secretary of the CPC Beijing municipal committee. Other participants included CPC and senior government officials.