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Emotions run high for Kim Il-sung's 100th birthday
Publication Date : 15-04-2012
On Friday, we watched 200,000 people rally to mark the unveiling of huge bronze statues of the two late leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il as centerpieces in Pyongyang, the capital. On Saturday, we were taken to another huge gathering: 50,000 people in a stadium to commemorate the centenary birthday of the country's founder, Kim Il-sung.
Olive-uniformed soldiers, women in colourful hanbok gowns and men in dark-grey suits packed Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang and cheered "Long-live! Long-live!"
They also shouted "Safeguard great leader Kim Jong-un till death!" after hearing a lengthy and passionate speech from ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam.
Many of the attendants were moved, some with tears in their eyes, and applauded heavily under bright spring sunshine.
Current leader Kim Jong-un, as yesterday, attended the event but did not speak, sitting under a giant portrait of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung.
The event in the stadium was one of the many preludes to Sunday's major event: a huge military parade and celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the founder's birth on April 15. These days, Pyongyang people seem to be consumed by the festive mood.
Friday's failed satellite launching seems not to have affected their spirits.
Several Pyongyang people interviewed by China Daily said they had known of the failure. "Failure is the mother of success," said the 24-year-old university student Ryu Gyeng .
Local newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Saturday presented detailed narratives of recent political meetings, during which Kim Jong-un received a series of new titles.
The country's official TV station KCTV Saturday aired a lengthy documentary video showing Kim Jong-un visiting across the country.
On TV, we saw local people crying when they saw Kim Jong-un come to their villages or work units, with many of them sobbing while taking photos with their country's young leader.