Aircraft carrier fleet to visit HK for anniversary
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.
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.