23 June 2017
Anniversary Celebrations Set to Sparkle
Two decades since the 1 July 1997 official lowering of the British flag and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Hong Kong has emerged as Asia’s World City and the principal commerce and trade conductor between China and the world.
Twentieth anniversary celebrations, under the theme, "Together, Progress, Opportunity," include a months-long programme of celebratory events culminating on 1 July, when the incoming administration, under new Chief Executive Carrie Lam, is sworn in.
Explaining the significance of the theme, the incoming Chief Executive said that “Together" represents Hong Kong people united to overcome various challenges over the years; while "Progress" refers to the city’s need to move ahead and develop new industries, including in creative industries, as well as innovation and technology.
"Opportunity" reflects how Hong Kong can connect mainland and overseas partners through the city’s professional, value-added services for projects under China's Belt and Road Initiative, Ms Lam said.
Festive Urban Streetscape
In the run-up to the anniversary, the city has put on its best dress to welcome the throngs of visitors expected. In addition to lavish banners greeting airport arrivals, a thematic display at Statue Square in Central will remain in place throughout July to promote the intangible cultural heritage of Hong Kong and the art of lantern-making.
Local artists, designers and professional groups have been busy creating street-art installations for every district – decorating staircases, seating, parks and piazzas – to showcase the boundless creativity of Hong Kong’s young talent. Selected footbridges and subways are also receiving a themed makeover to create festive public spaces.
Of course, there will be fireworks: specifically, the most elaborate pyrotechnic display since 1997, which will run for 23 minutes over the iconic Victoria Harbour. Starting at 8pm on 1 July, the night sky will sparkle with a 3,000-metre high, 1.2-kilometre long “super fireworks wall,” accompanied by a multimedia array of lights, music and LED screens.
The best places to enjoy the 1 July fireworks include the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, the Central waterfront promenade, and in Wan Chai, around the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and Bauhinia Square. Various harbour cruise operators are also offering a special fireworks tour that night, some including a dinner buffet.
Large-scale exhibitions staged in collaboration with leading museums will showcase a kaleidoscope of cultural and national treasures. Among them, the diversity and richness of collections from the world-renowned Louvre Museum in France is illustrated at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin. The exhibition, "Inventing le Louvre: From Palace to Museum over 800 Years," runs until 24 July. “Eternal Life - Exploring Ancient Egypt," co-organised with the British Museum, will be held at the Hong Kong Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui, until October.
Two Chinese exhibitions – “Celebrating Imperial Birthdays in the Qing Dynasty” and “Yangxindian Exhibition from Palace Museum” – have been co-organised by the Hong Kong Government and the Beijing Palace Museum.
A headline event will be the International Military Tattoo, where military bands from Europe, the United States and Asia will join with bands from the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Hong Kong military services and the Hong Kong Police Band for three concerts from 13-16 July. In addition to this ticketed event, a two-day free outdoor carnival will be held over the Tattoo weekend on the Hong Kong Cultural Centre piazza, with game stalls and performances (4-5pm) by selected military bands.
The 2017 Chinese Opera Festival, staged at various venues until 13 August, is included on the programme line-up. The anniversary month also features mega-sport event the World Snooker Master Challenge (20-23 July).
In addition to some 300-plus events scheduled in Hong Kong to mark the anniversary, another 200 or so are being organised on the mainland and overseas. Under the banner “Let’s Celebrate in Beijing,” a programme of events is being jointly staged by the Beijing offices of the Hong Kong Government, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong hotel operators and retailers are expecting a boost to their businesses from the global exposure surrounding the anniversary celebrations. Thomson Cheng, Chairman of the Retail Management Association, told the South China Morning Post that the scale of the official celebrations would encourage tourists to time their Hong Kong visits so they arrive during the festivities.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)