City's people eager to quicken the country's growth, chief executive says on National Day Hong Kong would have a more important role to play in the nation's economic development, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said yesterday. He said Hong Kong people would never forget the help provided by the central government and were eager to accelerate the country's growth. 'I take pride in our country's achievements and in seeing such strong potential for economic advancement in the central region,' he told the National Day reception hosted by the government at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. 'We will make every effort to improve our infrastructure in financial services, logistics, trade and tourism to bring a better life to Hong Kong people and contribute more to the country.' For this reason, Mr Tsang said, the city staged last month's economic summit on the 11th five-year plan. Ma Ngok, a political analyst at Chinese University, said Mr Tsang's speech reaffirmed his stance on a more interventionist approach by the government towards economic affairs during the process of economic integration with the mainland. About 2,500 guests and spectators crowded Golden Bauhinia Square to witness the flag-raising ceremony, marking the 57th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Mr Tsang hummed the lyrics when the national anthem was played and helicopters carrying the national and Hong Kong flags flew over Victoria Harbour during the ceremony. Earlier, legislator Leung Kwok-hung led a group of protesters who held black banners demanding the central government apologise for the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, and called for the release of Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong, who has been jailed for five years for spying for Taiwan. The protesters were involved in minor scuffles with police on the way to the square, and were allowed to protest only in Convention Avenue. During the reception, Mr Leung shouted, 'End the one-party dictatorship' during a silence before the national anthem was about to be played. He was promptly escorted from the hall by officials. Celebratory events were held, including carnivals, dragon boat races, lion and dragon dances, a variety show at the Hong Kong Coliseum and a fireworks display. A total of 609,733 people had left or entered Hong Kong by midnight as the 'golden week' holiday on the mainland started. More than 150,000 entered Hong Kong through the Lo Wu checkpoint. Meanwhile, a national flag hoisted outside a bank in Wan Chai was found desecrated yesterday with two small burn marks. A man, who fled, had been seen destroying the flag with a lighter, police said.