HK gets Liaon­ing’s warm wel­come

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By SHADOW LI in Hong Kong stushadow@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Hong Kong beamed with pa­tri­otic pride as res­i­dents thronged to ex­pe­ri­ence the open house of China’s first air­craft car­rier over the week­end.

The CNS Liaon­ing ar­rived on Fri­day in Hong Kong mark­ing the 20th an­niver­sary of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army be­ing sta­tioned in the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion, and it opened to the pub­lic for visit for the first time on Satur­day and Sun­day.

Two thou­sand per­ma­nent res­i­dents of Hong Kong, along with another 1,600 tick­ets for mem­bers of the city’s var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions, were able to go on­board for a one-hour tour of the na­tion’s most ad­vanced air­craft car­rier.

The 60,900-met­ric-ton ves­sel was greeted with en­thu­si­asm by peo­ple of all ages. Some young par­ents brought their chil­dren.

A sud­den down­pour on Sat- ur­day morn­ing did not dampen the pub­lic’s high spir­its. Crowds formed long lines at the pier in Cen­tral, Hong Kong Is­land, to take the shut­tle ferry the car­rier. The vis­i­tors re­ceived a sou­venir pack­age which in­cluded an army cap em­broi­dered with Chi­nese char­ac­ters read­ing PLA naval ship Liaon­ing.

The car­rier, whose flight deck is about the size of three soc­cer fields, can carry more than 30 J-15 fighter jets and sev­eral heli­copters.

J-15 pi­lots are re­quired to have at least 1,000 flight hours so that they can man­age the phys­i­cal and men­tal stress of tak­ing off and land­ing the air­craft on the car­rier’s flight deck.

Xu Ying, chief of a PLA Navy J-15 squadron, said he felt for­tu­nate as a sol­dier to have come to Hong Kong to wit­ness the great achieve­ments the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion has made.

For peo­ple in Hong Kong, it was a pre­cious op­por­tu­nity to get an up-close look at the Liaon­ing, boost their un­der­stand­ing of the coun­try’s de­fense de­vel­op­ment, and strengthen their con­fi­dence and na­tional es­teem, Xu said.

Coco Tai Tze-wan, a teenage sec­ondary school stu­dent, went with her mother to visit the car­rier. “I used to think only in my dreams could I board the Liaon­ing and see it with my own eyes. Now the dream has come true. Though I spent only an hour on the ship, I felt sat­is­fied,” Tai said. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing the Liaon

ing, the frigate Yan­tai and de­stroy­ers Ji­nan and Yinchuan docked in the PLA Hong Kong Gar­ri­son’s naval base on Stone­cut­ters Is­land, and they were also open to the ticket-hold­ers to visit.

Their pres­ence at the base co­in­cided with the PLA Hong Kong Gar­ri­son’s open days at its three bar­racks, in­clud­ing the naval base, on Satur­day and Sun­day.

Be­fore the flotilla sets sail from the city on Tues­day, its crew mem­bers, to­gether with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the PLA Hong Kong Gar­ri­son, are sched­uled to pay a visit to a nurs­ing home on Mon­day, among other lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties cel­e­brat­ing the 20th an­niver­sary of the PLA be­ing sta­tioned in Hong Kong.

ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY

Vis­i­tors sig­nal “take­off” on the deck of China’s first air­craft car­rier, the CNS Liaon­ing, on Sun­day, the last day of the open house of the car­rier’s flotilla in Hong Kong.

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