20th anniversary of Hong Kong handover to focus on city’s youth

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam views celebrations as opportunity for togetherness

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 10:06pm
UPDATED : Monday, 20 March, 2017, 4:42pm

Year-round celebratory events are being rolled out in the city and overseas – with an extra focus on youth – for Hong Kong’s 20th anniversary next year as a special administrative region of China, the chief secretary said yesterday.

What is special this year compared to past celebrations, according to Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, is that the government will also organise events aimed at capitalising on Hong Kong’s strengths and competitiveness.

“And we’re also putting a lot more attention on young people – that is a major difference,” she said, as chair of a cross-departmental steering committee on the celebrations.

Hong Kong police hope to have anti-riot vehicles ready in time for 20th anniversary of handover to China

Highlights range from exhibitions of national treasures to performances by one of the world’s top orchestras to mark two decades since the 1997 handover.

“The 20th anniversary mark is an important date as we witness the successful implementation of ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong and society’s stability and prosperity has been maintained,” Lam said.

We need to stage these wholesome activities to generate positive energy and put society together
Carrie Lam

Themed “together, progress, opportunity”, the events and celebrations will feature a museum summit with exhibits from the Louvre and the British Museum. It will also mark the first time that imperial collections from Beijing’s Palace Museum will leave the Forbidden City since they were installed during Qing Emperor Yongzheng’s 12-year-reign which started from 1723.

Lam denied the exhibition of Chinese treasures was related to national education. She also said there was no information on the presence of state leaders for the anniversary and that she was not worried about event security.

“The police commissioner is a member of the steering committee and he is at all the meetings to listen and make suggestions,” she said.

“Should something happen during the celebrations, I think it may not be related to the celebrations per se. I can’t deny there have been more conflicts and arguments in society than before. But that’s exactly why we need to stage these wholesome activities to generate positive energy and put society together.”

Everything you need to know about Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty

Substantial expenses have been settled without seeking funds from the legislature to host international sporting events such as snooker, yachting and cycling, as well as to recruit the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Peking opera troupe for the anniversary.

Asked if this was the swansong of her long civil service, Lam said: “I don’t sing.”