On September 14, 2019, visitors were waiting at the Hong Kong International Airport Terminal. (Photo by Duan Changzheng from People's Daily Online)
Hong Kong is now embracing the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), as local residents have spontaneously organized a series of celebration activities.
Hongkongers showed their love for the motherland and pride in great achievements as well as being part of them.
Although the city has been struggling with social unrest for months, which have turned violent and cast the city in a gloomy mood, many local residents still openly expressed their strong feelings for the motherland through activities such as singing the Chinese national anthem at public place and hanging Chinese national flags on top of the iconic landmark Lion Rock.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of PRC, many Hong Kong people said they expect large-scale celebration activities such as fireworks show, concerts and exhibits. But some of them were disappointed by the unrest that has plagued the city for months.
Last week, Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government announced the cancellation of the fireworks show, citing the latest situation, which has become a public safety concern. The fireworks display in Victoria Harbour on National Day was considered a major tourist attraction.
Morris Cheung, the first MTR Academy chief, expressed pity for the cancellation.
It's a pity the government canceled the fireworks show, but we have no other choice," Cheung told the Global Times. "There is a huge decline in tourist arrivals to Hong Kong, and the fragility of society caught me off-guard."
Since Hong Kong's return to China, the fireworks show on National Day was only canceled twice before 2019: after a ferry collision accident that killed 39 in 2012 and during the Occupy Central protests in 2014.
Some local residents, including elder people and youth, criticized black-clad protesters - some of them are teenagers - for their lack of understanding of the country's great achievements over the past 70 years, and for their ignorance of national pride and dignity.
The destiny of Hong Kong has always been closely tied to the mainland, and the city has always shared the glory of the motherland, some Hong Kong residents said.
When Japan occupied Hong Kong in 1941, Lam Chun was six year old, but she joined the Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column two years later as a young messenger in the local guerrilla force, she told the Global Times.
When I was little, I barely understood the significance of anti-fascism or national independence… At that time, I often wondered that if the motherland protected us, we would not have been bullied," she said.
During the war, Hong Kong people struggled and suffered tremendously without the protection of the mainland, as they were coerced and intimidated by the Japanese invaders, and the colonial government banned progressive activities involving elements of national independence.
Even female factory workers were not allowed to learn how to read and write at night, she noted.
The Hong Kong Independent Battalion of the Dongjiang Column actively and persistently undertook anti-Japanese campaigns and made a great contribution to the war efforts, according to the local government's website.
Protection of motherland
Lam said she still remembers the moment Chinese chairman Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, when Lam was secretly brought by her teacher to a hotel and listened to a radio broadcast of the founding ceremony.
When we heard chairman Mao solemnly proclaiming 'Chinese people have stood up, the central people's government has been established,' we cheered then cried together," she said, noting that from that day on, many felt that Hong Kong could be protected by the motherland.
On the July 1, 1997, I was with about 400 veterans who watched the ceremony of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. Over half the century later, some have died and some are alive, but they did not have a chance to meet each other," Lam said. She noted that they all expected one thing - Hong Kong's return to the mainland.
When we saw them lowering the British flag and raising the Chinese flag, we choked," she said. When she mentioned those memories, she became highly emotional and could not hold back her tears.
Over the past 70 years, Hong Kong has always shared the glory of the mainland's achievements, even before its return to the mainland. Many Hong Kong business representatives alsoparticipated in the mainland's economic reform and opening-up.
Eddie Leung, who was born in Hong Kong in 1949, started working in the factory of his uncle at 14, and established his own watch factory in Kwai Chung in 1979. Like many other Hong Kong businessmen in the 1980s, he decided to seek opportunities in the mainland, Leung told the Global Times.
Due to limited land and rising labor costs in Hong Kong, provinces in southern China offered us more room for further development. For example, local authorities in Dongguan granted us a great amount of favorable policies, from taxes to other costs," he said.
Dongguan, South China's Guangdong Province, has been transformed from farmland to the world's factory over the past decades, partially helped by manufacturing shifts from Hong Kong to the mainland.
China has grown to become the world's second largest economy, largest cargo trading country, second-largest service trading nation, and the second-largest destination for foreign investment.
The motherland has always been our strong backing and Hong Kong connects the mainland to the overseas market," he said.
Hong Kong's future
Johnny Ng, a young Hong Kong entrepreneur, grew up in a low-income family who lived in public housing, like the majority of ordinary Hongkongers. By chance, he studied and started his own business that changed his destiny.
After I received my PhD from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, I noticed the rapid development of Shenzhen - a neighboring city of Hong Kong - and started a facial recognition company there," he told the Global Times.
For his generation, there are limited opportunities in Hong Kong, and people who came from poor background have great difficulties rising to the top, Ng noted. "But there is much development room on the other side of the river," he said, noting that the technologies that he developed are now applied in the Luohu port - one of the busiest land ports in the world, thanks to China's development.
Without close ties between Hong Kong and the mainland, without 1.4 billion Chinese people, my business would have already suffered," he said.
For the Hong Kong working class, the rapid growth of the country also helped their careers move to the fast lane.
Cheung, now the Vice Chairman of Key Direction Limited, told the Global Times that the mainland's fast development also accelerated the growth of the railway industry in Hong Kong, given rapid increase of exports of the mainland.
The academy is cultivating engineers and workers to cooperate within China's Belt and Road Initiative. Some of the trainees have now started working in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, among other places.
China, once a country which relied heavily on foreign technology in the railway industry, is now a world-leading country in high-speed railways.
The mainland is open-minded in adopting foreign technology," said Cheung. "Mixed with the fast-growing domestic research and development as well as the huge market, the high-speed railway could rapidly develop in a short period of time."
Source: Global Times
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