BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Monday evening hosted a gala to mark the traditional Lantern Festival.
Top leaders including President Hu Jintao and representatives from Beijing's intellectual circle attended the event.
Prior to the gala's opening, Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, addressed the participants on behalf of the CPC Central Committee.
He said the year 2008 was very extraordinary, during which the CPC Central Committee with Hu as the General Secretary led the Party and the nation to win the victory in combating unusual natural disasters, to successfully host the Olympics and Paralympics, and complete the mission of flying the Shenzhou VII manned spacecraft.
The year 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China, and it is also a pivotal year to face big international and domestic challenges and realize new development in promoting the Party and the country's causes, he said.
The official urged the intellectual circle to shoulder the historic mission and continue to contribute wisdom and strength to the country's reform and opening-up drive and the socialist modernization.
Other leaders attending the gathering included Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang.
The Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, is an occasion for family reunion. It marks the formal end of lunar New Year festivities.