Celebrations for the SAR's first birthday will cost at least $16 million, a sum officials say will be money well spent. The publicly funded part of the celebration includes a banquet for 1,100 people, among them President Jiang Zemin, and a cultural gala broadcast live for millions of people outside Hong Kong. Secretary for Home Affairs David Lan Hong-tsung said yesterday the first anniversary of the establishment of the SAR was worth celebrating despite the economic crisis. 'One year's birthday is very important in Chinese customs,' he said. 'It signifies the child is fundamentally strong and fit and things are moving in the right direction.' The $10 million-plus official programme on July 1 begins with the hoisting of the national and SAR flags on the Wan Chai waterfront. A 90-minute cultural show at the Coliseum will include Chinese orchestras in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong performing live together via satellite. But there will be no fireworks display, and no more funding for district boards to host celebrations. 'We have taken the economic situation into account. We have to dip into our own purse and see what savings we can make,' Mr Lan said. Non-government celebrations had been organised by the First Anniversary of Hong Kong's Return to the Mainland Committee, which appeared less thrifty. Pledging a spectacular carnival and Canto-pop concert at Happy Valley on July 1, the committee has decided to draw a maximum of $6 million from its $20 million-odd celebrations fund. 'We feel that when the economy is low, it's no use keeping the money in our pockets,' said convenor Raymond Wu Wai-yung. 'Perhaps we should churn the money around and I think it's economically sound to spend the money,' he said. Legislator-elect Leung Yiu-chung said he would boycott the events, saying they were a waste of money. At least 58 events are being organised by district groups around Hong Kong. Gifts from the mainland for the handover will be publicly exhibited before being taken to the airport and other government premises for permanent display.