China threw a huge bash tonight to celebrate the one-year countdown to the 2008 Olympics.
The event was held at Tiananmen Square, all lit up with Chairman Mao's portrait overseeing the festivities.
There were the usual patriotic speeches about how China has progressed and how thrilled they were six years ago to be chosen the host city of the 2008 Summer Games.
And there was lots of singing and dancing. Hordes of dancers in colourful costumes danced frantically as if their lives depended on it, and singers sang in piercing voices. Most of the performers wore traditional Chinese costumes, from the Peking Opera ones complete with dramatic makeup to pairs of young people dressed as playful lions.
China's bright star, Lang Lang performed the Yellow River Concerto on a red grand piano. He wore a bright red jacket like the ones worn by high school bands. He looked like he'd put on some weight, with a double chin developing... nevertheless he played magnificently as usual.
Throughout the performances, fireworks went off intermittently against the overcast sky.
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge sat through the entire event, mostly without much reaction. Perhaps he was still jetlagged, or tired from sitting outside in the hot summer air.
Or maybe he was thinking of following through on his warning that if the air quality is not good enough next year, he will force Beijing Olympic officials to postpone events.
Now that would be a show stopper.