A warm PLA welcome

Updated: 2015-07-02 10:37

By Frannie Guan in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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On the 18th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the local garrison of the People's Liberation Army opened its gates to welcome the public to its Stonecutters Island and Shek Kong barracks.

More than 30,000 visitors came for the annual open house. One of the city's most popular events, the annual open house also is intended to foster a closer bond between the PLA garrison and local residents.

Jason Chan,12, visited Shek Kong barrack last year with his family. This year, he and two friends, Vincent Cheung and Ivan Cheng, went to Stonecutters Island barracks. Their parents had to work and couldn't join the Wednesday celebration.

The three all wore their black caps, a souvenir distributed by the garrison to visitors. The souvenir bag also came with a bottle of water, biscuits, plastic raincoat, towel, a plastic fan, and a Chinese national flag as well as the flag of the Hong Kong SAR.

The three boys got up at seven, hoping to arrive early to get good seats, but even then the best seats were taken by people who had come earlier still.

There was a military band, and a demonstration of some of the training exercises PLA soldiers must undertake. The boys said that what impressed them most was the laser-simulation confrontation, during which soldiers jumped through flaming hoops to carry out their mission.

Cheung said he admired the soldiers' hard work, training and their never-give-up spirit. "They set a good example for us," said Cheung.

Adrian Lo, 6, was fascinated by the weapons and military equipments: the tanks, naval vessels and military firearms. And he was excited to "get the feel of them" and hear the soldiers' introductions.

"It is so cool," Adrian told his father, as the elder snapped photos of the boy and the anti-tank rocket launcher.

Janet Chen, 29, who visited the barracks with her husband, Chau Lap-ki, queued up for photos with the firearms. "It is much heavier than I thought, and I felt powerful as I held it in my hands," said Chen.

Chen was impressed by the soldiers' patience in standing in the sun for hours, and answering enquires about the weapons and equipment from visitors and taking photos with them.

Navy petty officer Chen Zixiang, 28, has been stationed in Hong Kong for three years. He has noted the growing enthusiasm of Hong Kong people for the annual event.

For his part, Chen loves his job, and says it gives him great satisfaction no matter how hard the training.


 A warm PLA welcome

A military band entertains the local audience, to mark the 18th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR this year. Photos by parker Zheng / China Daily

 A warm PLA welcome

More than 30,000 people visited the PLA Stonecutters Island and Shek Kong barracks during the annual open house day on Wednesday.

 A warm PLA welcome

The PLA naval base proved a popular attraction for visitors. The Chinese national flag and the flag of the HKSAR were everywhere.

 A warm PLA welcome

Best to keep your head down during tough times.

 A warm PLA welcome

The annual PLA open house is intended to help local people understand the PLA mission here and offer a brief glimpse of the garrison's capabilities.

 A warm PLA welcome

Soldiers give visitors a close-up look at some of the standard training exercises.

 A warm PLA welcome

This boy is overwhelmed as he got the chance to hold a real military weapon.

 A warm PLA welcome

PLA soldiers demonstrated their preparedness to leap through flaming hoops to carry out their mission.

(HK Edition 07/02/2015 page4)