A flag-raising ceremony is held to celebrate the 18th anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland in Macao, south China, Dec. 20, 2017. (Xinhua/Cheong Kam Ka)
MACAO, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of Macao people participated in a series of activities and events to celebrate Macao's 18th anniversary of returning to China and the establishment of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) on Wednesday.
The SAR government started a flag-raising ceremony at 8:00 a.m. local time at the Golden Lotus Square, with Macao's leading officials, discipline forces and local residents participating in the event.
Two formations of Public Security Forces of Macao took the national flag and the Macao SAR flag to the two flag poles. Then the two flags were hoisted to the national anthem in front of the audience of over 1,000 people and honor guards from Macao's police officers, firefighters and custom officers.
People's Liberation Army Macao Garrison at region also held a flag-raising ceremony in the morning.
Following the ceremonies was a reception event held at Macao Tower Convention and Entertainment Center which was decorated by ribbons of red and yellow, the colors of China's national flag. About 700 representatives from all sectors of society in Macao attended the reception to celebrate the 18th anniversary of establishment of Macao SAR.
SAR Chief Executive Chui Sai On said in his speech that the government was cautiously optimistic about Macao's economic outlook, highlighting that the SAR has a stable economy, healthy public finances and a low unemployment rate.
He also stressed the importance of adhering to the "one country" principle while taking advantage of the benefits offered by the "two systems" model and by the integration of Macao's development with that of the country as a whole.
During the day, Macao also held a special flower show organized by the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau at Taipa Houses. It features more than 50,000 winter and festive blooms which will on display until Jan. 7, 2018.
The Macao Post and Telecommunications Bureau offered a commemorative postmarking service to the public to celebrate the 18th anniversary.
At 9:00 p.m. local time, a fantastic firework show was put up by the tourism office on the waterfront near Macao Tower. Thousands of tourists and local residents went to the beach to watch the show.