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Published: 17:44, October 01, 2023 | Updated: 17:45, October 01, 2023
Residents, tourists in festive mood
By Xi Tianqi, Shadow Li in Hong Kong
Published:17:44, October 01, 2023 Updated:17:45, October 01, 2023 By Xi Tianqi, Shadow Li in Hong Kong

Residents celebrate the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, on Oct 1, 2023. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region went into festive gear on Sunday, with national and HKSAR flags fluttering side by side on streets and buildings, and residents and tourists turning out in droves to celebrate National Day.

The SAR government and wide sectors of the community organized a diverse range of activities, with attractive deals like discounted movie tickets and free metro rides for children, as the city joined the nation in commemorating the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Commuters on light rail trains and Mass Transit Railway buses in the northwestern New Territories also enjoyed free rides. Admission to facilities run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, including sports facilities, gyms and swimming pools, as well as to Wetland Park, were also free of charge.  

Residents in festive spirit waved national flags outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui, with some donning the traditional Chinese Hanfu clothing. 

A fireworks display will light up the sky over Victoria Harbor at 9pm, marking its spectacular return after a five-year hiatus due to the pandemic. In the evening, a themed variety show, to be hosted by the Organizing Committee of Compatriots in Hong Kong in Celebration of the 74th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China, will be staged at Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom.

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The Immigration Department reported that, by 9 pm on Saturday, more than 825,000 people had entered or left the SAR

Local resident Wong Hiu-ming joined a charity run in Kowloon City despite the scorching heat. Describing the event as meaningful, he ran in the family category, saying he hoped it would add to the city’s joyous mood.

Wong, who plans to take his family to the fireworks display on Sunday evening, said he’s looking forward to it as it has been suspended for five years. 

Jason Ho, who’s in his 50s, and his family marked National Day with a feast at a restaurant. He said it was rare that National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival were being celebrated so close to each other.

Tourist Fang Ziyi, who travels frequently between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, decided to stay in the SAR with her child for the holidays. She said she became emotional seeing so many people taking photos in a sea of national flags on the streets.

ALSO READ: Hong Kong celebrates National Day

Fang said Hong Kong has always been a vibrant and vigorous city. She plans to watch the fireworks display with her child and dine at a cha chaan teng for a taste of local cuisine.

Mainland tourist Gao Shuang, who arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday afternoon, visited the popular tourist and commercial district of Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. She posted photos of the flags put up on the streets on her WeChat page.

Besides the fireworks display, she planned to visit Hong Kong Disneyland, M+ and Hong Kong Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District.  

According to the Travel Industry Authority, 501 inbound tour groups, comprising about 15,000 people, had registered to visit Hong Kong as of Saturday morning -- the second day of the eight-day Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday break on the Chinese mainland.  

The Immigration Department reported that, by 9 pm on Saturday, more than 825,000 people had entered or left the SAR. Among the more than 500,000 outbound travelers, at least 360,000 used land boundary checkpoints, including Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau and Heung Yuen Wai, as well as the Hong Kong West Kowloon high-speed rail station, to enter the mainland. About 320,000 people had entered the city as of 9pm on Saturday. 

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