China's Liaoning aircraft carrier leaves Hong Kong after five-day visit
HONG KONG, July 11 (Xinhua) -- China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, left here Tuesday after wrapping up a five-day visit to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
A departure ceremony was held at the Ngong Shuen Chau Barracks of the People's Liberation Army(PLA) Hong Kong Garrison by the HKSAR government.
At the ceremony, Cheung Kin-chung, Hong Kong's Chief Secretary for Administration, said that it was a rare opportunity for the public in Hong Kong, especially the young people, to see the Liaoning, which allowed them to know more about the modernization and the defense buildup of the country.
The visit could help stimulate Hong Kong people's sense of national identity and pride, Cheung added.
The Liaoning arrived here on July 7, accompanied by destroyers Jinan and Yinchuan, and frigate Yantai.
More than 4,000 Hong Kong people boarded the aircraft carrier and another 40,000 visited the three escorting warships.
During their stay in Hong Kong, members from the fleet held a deck reception and visited an elderly caring center to interact with Hong Kong residents.
After the ceremony, the fleet slowly pulled out of the dock, while soldiers on board the vessels lined up on the decks and waved goodbye.
Hong Kong resident Mr. Chan told Xinhua that like many other people, he was reluctant to say goodbye to the carrier and he thanked the motherland for offering Hong Kong people this opportunity.
Six local fishing boats set off Tuesday morning from Aberdeen ferry pier to bid farewell to the fleet by sailing alongside the carrier for about an hour.
Mr. Ng, captain of one of the boats, said he hoped that more of such visits would be paid to Hong Kong in the future.[ Editor: meng ]