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Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 11:58 GMT
In pictures: NPC session opens
Delegates outside the Great Hall of the People
1 of 6
Delegates from all over China have been arriving for the annual gathering of the country's parliament, the National People's Congress
Delegates arriving for the NPC
2 of 6
Some travelled thousands of miles to reach Beijing
A Chinese paramilitary guard stands at attention on Tiananmen Square
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Security is tight in nearby Tiananmen Square
Delegates at the NPC
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The Great Hall of the People is crammed with delegates
Delegate with script
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They have a week of heavy reading ahead
China's head of the Central Military Commission, Jiang Zemin (R) yawns next to President Hu Jintao
6 of 6
Even China's leaders find it difficult to stay perky throughout





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