Beijing voices concern, pledges assistance

Updated: 2012-10-05 08:02

By Andrea Deng (HK Edition)

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 Beijing voices concern, pledges assistance

Director and vice-directors of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong lead the office on Thursday to pay tribute to victims who died in Monday's ferry collision, with the Chinese national flag at half-mast in front of the office. Edmond Tang / China Daily

The central government is maintaining close watch over developments in the wake of Monday's ferry disaster off Lamma Island and promises whatever assistance is needed by the SAR.

The disclosure came in a statement from the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR.

The Liaison Office expressed its deepest condolences to the bereaved families of those who died in the tragic collision of two ferries, which took 38 lives.

Director of the Liaison Office Peng Qinghua, along with other major officials, observed three minutes of silence at noon. They were dressed in black, with white flowers pinned to their suits. The national flag outside the office building was flown at half staff.

Peng and deputy director Yang Jianping also visited a point where the victims were being mourned in Central and Western District.

"Deepest condolences for our victimized compatriots during the Lamma ferry collision," Peng wrote on the book of condolence. The director encouraged Hong Kong citizens to be strong in the face of the adversity. The city's people should stay strong with fortitude, he said.

Peng also noted that the central government has been much concerned about the accident. It issued instructions earlier that assistance be provided by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, the Ministry of Transport of the PRC and the China Maritime Search and Rescue Centre, if needed.

Peng continued that liaison office officials have coordinated with the mainland authorities, so that assistance was ready anytime.

"We share weal and woe with our Hong Kong compatriots. It is the duty of the Liaison Office and we have done what we should do," said Peng.

Peng recalled that during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, the SAR government quickly sent a search and rescue team, government flying service, medical experts and epidemic prevention experts to Wenchuan county, where the earthquake struck the hardest. He said people of Wenchuan were grateful to the help. When the disaster happens in Hong Kong, it is perfectly right for the mainland authority to offer help.

"When the accident happened, rescue work was the first thing to do. I believe that as long as political preconception does not get in the way of humanism, no one would stand and do nothing to save people's lives," Peng said.

andrea@chinadailyhk.com

(HK Edition 10/05/2012 page1)