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[ By | 5 Jun 2009 | One Comment ]

For Chinese families, June 1, International Children’s Day, is normally one of the happiest days on the calendar, something like Christmas and Fourth of July rolled into one.

This year, a reporter visiting Beijing’s scenic Houhai Lake district found herself in the midst of a typically festive scene, with student volunteers wearing the bright red neck scarves, a traditional symbol of childhood, and parents on their way to neighborhood toy stores to buy presents for their children.

She stopped to chat with a young couple, Mr. and Mrs. Ging, who happened to be delivering their three-year-old son to a public dance performance. That may explain why he was wearing bright red lipstick and pink blush on his cheeks, and was dressed in an elaborate multicolored dragon costume.

“We are so proud,” said Mr. Ging.”This is our first year participating, but our family hopes to continue this tradition until [our son] is no longer a child.”