Chinese astronauts urge Hong Kong pupils to discover universe as ‘proud Chinese’

Around 300 primary school students attended a seminar at Victoria Park as part of a science and technology exhibition to mark the 20th anniversary of the handover

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 8:41pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 10:58pm

Mainland scientists and three astronauts mingled with Hong Kong students to discuss rocket science and space exploration as part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover to China.

The astronauts met 300 primary school pupils, urging the youngsters to discover the universe as proud Chinese people.

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Speaking at a science and technology exhibition in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, astronaut Yang Liwei, who piloted the country’s first manned spacecraft in 2003, said he felt extremely proud and honoured to be a Chinese astronaut.

“Being an astronaut is a very high-risk job. It was because I wanted to fulfil my responsibility to serve my nation that I chose this path,” he said.

“We should remember to serve the welfare of the Chinese people in exploring the universe .”

Also attending the seminar were Chen Dong and Jing Haipeng, who took part in a 33-day mission – the country’s longest space flight – last year. They encouraged the pupils to achieve their “space dream”.

“I wish one day some of you can convey your messages to aliens using the Hong Kong dialect,” Chen Dong suggested.

The youngsters chanted the slogan “Hong Kong Love, China Dream” with the hosts at the end of the event.

The pupils who attended the event seemed to be happy about the exchange with the astronauts. Chan Ho-yeung, 11, said he wanted to see more Chinese astronauts coming to the city to ask them how the universe looked.

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His mother, Liu Wei, said she was happy to send Chan to the seminar to receive some patriotic education.

“Lots of his classmates identify only as Hongkongers, but I told him you should be a Chinese and a Hongkonger,” she said.

Separately, the three astronauts and rocket scientists with the Beijing-based China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, which developed the Shenzhou and Long March rockets, met City University students and teachers to discuss space research.