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 itsStonecutters Island and Shek Kong barracks.
More than 30,000 visitors came for the annual open house. One of the city's most popularevents, the annual open house also is intended to foster a closer bond between the PLAgarrison and local residents.
Jason Chan,12, visited Shek Kong barrack last year with his family. This year, he and twofriends, Vincent Cheung and Ivan Cheng, went to Stonecutters Island barracks. Their parentshad to work and couldn't join the Wednesday celebration.
The three all wore their black caps, a souvenir distributed by the garrison to visitors. Thesouvenir bag also came with a bottle of water, biscuits, plastic raincoat, towel, a plastic fan, anda 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 bestseats were taken by people who had come earlier still.
There was a military band, and a demonstration of some of the training exercises PLA soldiersmust undertake. The boys said that what impressed them most was the laser-simulationconfrontation, 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. "Theyset a good example for us," said Cheung.
Adrian Lo, 6, was fascinated by the weapons and military equipments: the tanks, naval vesselsand 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-tankrocket launcher.
Janet Chen, 29, who visited the barracks with her husband, Chau Lap-ki, queued up for photoswith 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 answeringenquires 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 hasnoted 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 thetraining.
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
More than 30,000 people visited the PLA Stonecutters Island and Shek Kong barracks during the annual open house day on Wednesday.
The PLA naval base proved a popular attraction for visitors. The Chinese national flag and the flag of the HKSAR were everywhere.
Best to keep your head down during tough times.
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.
Soldiers give visitors a close-up look at some of the standard training exercises.
This boy is overwhelmed as he got the chance to hold a real military weapon.
PLA soldiers demonstrated their preparedness to leap through flaming hoops to carry out their mission.