China / HK Macao Taiwan

Hong Kong marks 18th anniversary of returning to China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-07-01 19:42

HONG KONG - Tens of thousands of Hong Kong people participated in a slew of celebrations across the region on Wednesday to mark the 18th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

The day began with a traditional flag-hoisting ceremony at 8 a. m. at the Golden Bauhinia Square in commercial district Wan Chai, which was attended by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, head of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong Zhang Xiaoming, former Chief Executive Tung Chee-wah and community leaders as well as foreign dignitaries.

During the ceremony, an honor guard of police officers in white tunics took the national flag and the flag of HKSAR to the two flag poles where they were hoisted to the national anthem.

Government Flying Service helicopters provided a simultaneous fly-past over the harbor, where fire boats turned on their hoses in celebration, sending arcs of water into the air.

Despite the sizzling heat, hundreds of Hong Kong residents watch the ceremony.

A following reception was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, which was attended by Leung and some 1,200 guests, including members of the Executive and Legislative Councils, the consular corps and members of various community groups.

"Notable developments have been achieved over the past year, including the official launch of Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, the mutual recognition of funds between the mainland and Hong Kong, and the early realization of basic liberalization of trade in services between Hong Kong and Guangdong province," Leung said at the reception.

He added that Hong Kong will continue to serve as a bridge between the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world in the emerging Belt and Road initiative.

One of Wednesday's highlights is an open day at the barracks of the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison at Shek Kong and on Stonecutters Island, which is aimed at strengthening communication between the garrison and local residents.

At the two barracks, visitors watched flag-raising ceremonies with military-band performances, simulation training shows, including simulated shooting guns, ship handling and a mini- military exercise, as well as theatrical performances, and sea and air equipment exhibitions.

"I'm thrilled seeing the training show. The soldiers are so manly and well-trained. I feel safe to have them around," said a 15-year-old student surnamed Cheung.

Besides, carnivals were held throughout Hong Kong's 18 districts, which featured marching bands, lion dances, music and cultural shows, game booths and activity zones for kids.

Other events ranged from sketching and painting activities, football matches, dancing competitions, cultural nights, dragon and lion parades, martial arts and fairs.

Hot Topics