PLA extravaganza finally touches base

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am


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The People's Liberation Army cultural show to mark the 10th anniversary of the handover and the stationing of its garrison in Hong Kong opened at the Coliseum yesterday, watched by an audience of about 4,500 people.

Major-General Xiong Yan, chief director of the PLA's Artistic and Cultural Troupe, said most of the 260-strong performers of Sacredness had not attended the 1997 handover ceremony, but some creative directors had been to the city to prepare for the production.

Artistic director Senior Colonel Xing Shimiao said he, along with four composers, two lyricists, and four choreographers, visited the PLA's Hong Kong garrison twice in 2004 to learn about the life of mainland soldiers here.

'We stayed in the Ngong Shuen Chau Barracks for half a month and visited all the bases in the territory,' Colonel Xing said. 'We drilled with them every morning. They are of very high quality.'

He said his trip to Hong Kong greatly inspired last night's show. Months later, he returned to Hong Kong to double-check that his work truly reflected the troops' experience over the past decade.

In the first act, soloist Wang Shaomei performed a song describing the downpour at midnight on June 30, 1997, when the PLA garrison drove into Hong Kong. 'Amid the rain, there came the first day of its return to China,' she sang.

General Xiong said to make full use of the Coliseum's large stage, the cast had been increased from 100 to more than 260 members, and a screen had been installed.

He said that over the past 10 years, he had been most impressed with Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, as well as people's patriotism.

'Hong Kong has made remarkable accomplishments under the principles of 'one country, two systems' and 'Hong Kong people running Hong Kong',' General Xiong said.

The show finishes today. All free tickets have already been issued.