AP PHOTOS: China's Great Hall of the People

AP News
Posted: Mar 10, 2017 9:49 PM
AP PHOTOS: China's Great Hall of the People

BEIJING (AP) — Encompassing the area of 24 soccer fields, the Great Hall of the People, where China's ceremonial legislature and its official advisory body hold their annual sessions, is a cavernous edifice that dwarfs the humans who work in it.

Aside from the Great Auditorium said to seat 10,000 in all, the building features grand hallways, dozens of meeting rooms and spaces for state banquets where visiting foreign dignitaries and honored Chinese citizens are entertained.

While it buzzes with activity during those occasions, especially the roughly two weeks of the legislative session, at other times the hall is strangely quiet, with voices echoing off its marble walls and sentinels standing silently in its forecourt that looks out onto the vast expanse of Tiananmen Square.

The building was famously completed in 10 months by an army of China's finest workers and craftsmen, just in time for the 1959 anniversary of the triumph of Mao Zedong's Communists over Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist army in the Chinese civil war.