'Great Wall of Steel' goes on show

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 August, 2008, 12:00am

Some could not contain their excitement, but others were disappointed on the opening day of an exhibition to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the PLA yesterday.

More than 2,500 people flocked to the Convention and Exhibition Centre for the first large-scale military exhibition of the People's Liberation Army in the city, featuring 1,600 exhibits, including 24 first class national treasures and six large weapons in current use such as tanks, ballistic missiles and an anti-aircraft gun.

'This is a very rare chance to see such massive weaponry in Hong Kong,' said Yan Kam-wah, who took his four-year-old son, a fan of tanks, to the exhibition. 'As a boy, my son should know more about our country's army.'

Others, such as 73-year-old Sin Ping-tong, visited the exhibition to reminisce about the past.

Looking at a glass case filled with military badges, the former civil servant recalled how he spent his youth secretly hero-worshipping Chinese generals while working for the British colonial government in Hong Kong.

'It's all very familiar to me. I know all the Chinese military ranks and badges,' Mr Sin said. 'Millions of Chinese people sacrificed their lives for the establishment of new China.'

Some were disappointed, however. 'I had hoped that there would be more genuine ammunition on display,' said June Tsang Siu-fan.

Major General Guo Dehe, curator of the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, declined to compare the exhibits with foreign armed forces.

The show, 'Great Wall of Steel: Exhibition of the Achievements of New China's National Defence and Army Building', runs until Thursday. Most of the free 40,000 tickets have been distributed.