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Liaoning aircraft carrier

How Chinese sailors on shore leave from Liaoning aircraft carrier have spent their time in Hong Kong

Top of the itinerary were visits to Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai and Madame Tussauds wax museum on the Peak

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 July, 2017, 12:47pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 July, 2017, 12:09pm

Selfies with iconic statues and waxwork celebrities have provided a snapshot of how Chinese naval personnel, on shore leave from the Liaoning aircraft carrier, have made the most of their short time in Hong Kong.

On the third day of the carrier’s stay in Hong Kong’s western waters, some sailors rushed to Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai to take photos with the statue there – a gift from the central government to mark the city’s 1997 handover to China.

One of the crew members, who paid for two photos with the statue, said it was “meaningful” to be photographed there.

After the first pit stop, a group then went to Madame Tussauds wax museum on The Peak.

Upon arrival, they quickly crowded around a figure of Canto-pop star Aaron Kwok in his Bull Demon King costume from the 2014 film, The Monkey King.

For many mainland Chinese visitors to Hong Kong, the main attractions are shopping and Hong Kong delicacies, but another sailor said these things did not interest him.

“[In terms of shopping], we have similar things on the mainland and the price is about the same,” he said, adding his family had not asked for any souvenirs.

He also said the mainland had a wide range of food options these days, so he wanted to focus on spending the day walking around, experiencing the city.

Unlike Western sailors in Hong Kong, a trip to the bars in Wan Chai was not on the agenda.

The two crew members also said that the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover was a joyous occasion. One said: “With China becoming stronger, all Chinese are happy.”

Watch: Hongkongers get first glimpse of Liaoning aircraft carrier

The Liaoning, measuring more than 300 metres in length with a displacement of about 60,000 tonnes, arrived in Hong Kong on Friday on a five-day port call.

It was opened to the public for the last day on Sunday as about 1,000 people went on board to view eight J-15 fighter jets on the flight deck.

Among the visitors was retired teacher Ceci Lai, 60, who believed that the visit to the Liaoning had allowed Hong Kong teenagers to learn more about their Chinese identity.

“Teenagers in Hong Kong need to understand more about the motherland and understand their identity – that they are Chinese,” she said on the flight deck.

She made the remark against the backdrop of a small group of people calling for Hong Kong to become independent.

Another visitor, 61-year-old Leung Ha-shun, believed that Hong Kong people should not resist their Chinese identity.

“Hong Kong is a Chinese city with its own uniqueness. But the city can never draw a line between itself and mainland China.”

Standing in front of a helicopter, a PLA officer said he was excited to be in Hong Kong.

He said he thought the majority of Hong Kong people were patriotic, adding: “The opposition force only constitutes a small part of Hong Kong’s population.”