More than 5,000 people attended an exhibition on the success of Hong Kong's handover at the Capital Museum in Beijing on the first day it was open to the public yesterday, after the country's top leaders made a tour on Wednesday.
'We are very curious about Hong Kong,' said retired cadre Guo Shouqian , as he left the section on Hong Kong's political development. 'We want to see how Hong Kong is returned to China and how it is managed after the return. This concerns the future of Taiwan, too.'
University student Liu Li said her understanding of Hong Kong had been limited to what she learned from movies and the media.
The director of the Hong Kong office in Beijing, Thomas Tso Man-tai, said the government had chosen to use a three-week exhibition to celebrate the handover on the mainland because it would allow its residents to understand Hong Kong better.
President Hu Jintao , Premier Wen Jiabao and the rest of the politburo showed their support for the exhibition on Wednesday night, while Vice-President Zeng Qinghong enjoyed a preview earlier in the afternoon when he officiated at the opening ceremony.
The exhibition is divided into eight sections, showcasing Hong Kong's achievements in areas from trade, tourism, sports and culture, to environmental protection and growing co-operation with the mainland since the handover, with an emphasis on the successful implementation of the 'one country, two systems' principle and the Basic Law.
While mainland residents seemed to enjoy the exhibition, state leaders had personalised tours led by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen on Wednesday.
The chief executive, who at times relied on cue cards, presented topics from Hong Kong's new passports to its latest landmark construction projects.
Mr Zeng asked how the two new pandas were settling in their home, and whether the new plastic HK$10 banknote was washable.