Change at The Great Hall of the People (人民大会堂)

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On Thursday, Xi Jinping formally took over from Hu Jintao as general secretary of China’s Communist Party at Beijing’s political hub, The Great Hall of the People (人民大会堂). The country’s political elite named Xi to the top party post after a weeklong congress and months of bargaining.

The Great Hall was built by volunteers under Chairman Mao’s command and opened in 1959. It stretches the length of three football fields and houses some spectacular rooms, including the Great Auditorium that can seat over 10,000 representatives, and a State Banquet Hall that can entertain 7,000 guests at one time (Richard Nixon dined there during his visit to China in 1972).