Leon Lai, Joey Yung among Hong Kong stars in show marking eve of 20th anniversary of handover

Chinese President Xi Jinping, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying and incoming chief executive Carrie Lam also take to the stage to belt out patriotic tunes

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 11:49pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 July, 2017, 12:06am

After a rousing show of songs and dances marking 20 years since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, visiting President Xi Jinping joined performers on stage to sing a patriotic song as a fitting end to the evening on Friday.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his successor Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also went up on stage to lend their voices to the chorus.

The three greeted performers before stretching their vocal chords for the song Sing for Our Motherland.

Ten years ago at the same venue, Xi’s wife Peng Liyuan, a folk singer, sang the same song with former president Hu Jintao on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the handover.

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But on Friday night, Peng only sang along in her seat, applauding her husband and the performers.

The gala held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre was attended by celebrities, local athletes as well as a children’s choir.

Despite the simmering political tension in the city, the grand show was as festive as the ones attended by Hu five and 10 years ago.

Some top Hong Kong and mainland stars gave performances hailing national unity and the city’s milestones.

A local children’s choir sang titles such as My Chinese Heart and Pearl of the Orient. Twenty-one local athletes, including cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze, took part in a dance.

“They represent Hong Kong, which means they are fighting for the glory of the motherland,” a host said.

Other performers included pianist Lang Lang and local stars Donnie Yen Ji-dan, Joey Yung Cho-yee, Hacken Lee Hak-kan, Karen Mok Man-wai, Leo Ku Kui-kei and Leon Lai Ming. Some of them also performed for Hu five years ago.

Xi and Peng, with front seats to the grand show, applauded the artistes as government photographers snapped pictures of the couple.

Peng herself is no stranger to such festivities, having performed Hong Kong’s Night with Moonlight – a tune with lyrics expressing a desire for national unity – at the 10th anniversary concert held at the same venue.