Air­craft car­rier fleet to visit HK for an­niver­sary

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

the city, and in­spire na­tional spirit, he added.

The gar­ri­son was for­mally sta­tioned in Hong Kong and as­sumed de­fense du­ties on July 1, 1997, when its sovereignty was re­turned to China from the United King­dom.

It cur­rently has about 6,000 per­son­nel and is com­manded by Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tan Ben­hong.

Ma­jor Gen­eral Ma Gang, a pro­fes­sor at the PLA Na­tional De­fense Univer­sity, said the fleet’s visit demon­strates the PLA Navy’s good will, and show­cases its firm de­ter­mi­na­tion and ca­pa­bil­ity to pro­tect all Chi­nese peo­ple.

“Hong Kong was taken from China by foreign colo­nial pow­ers in the 1840s, and the Qing govern­ment could do lit­tle about it be­cause its naval forces were weak,” Ma said.

“Now, China has its own air­craft car­rier fleet, and its visit to Hong Kong sig­nals a strong sense of re­as­sur­ance that Hong Kong can­not be taken away again.”

Chen Xingxin, a re­searcher of law and Hong Kong affairs at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said it is un­der­stand­able and in good will that the car­rier fleet is vis­it­ing Hong Kong for the an­niver­sary, be­cause both the car­rier and the re­turn of Hong Kong are proud mile­stones in Chi­nese his­tory.

The CNS Liaon­ing is a re­fit­ted Soviet-era ves­sel that was com­mis­sioned by the PLA Navy in 2012. China also launched its first do­mes­ti­cally built air­craft car­rier in April.

WU SHIKANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

A fire­fighter works to con­trol a for­est fire in the Greater Khin­gan Moun­tains in the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion on Sun­day. About 400 fire­fight­ers were mo­bi­lized to com­bat six fires in the re­gion.

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