Hong Kong embraces National Day holiday with yearning for peace, health

2020-10-02 22:01:36Xinhua Editor : Wang Fan ECNS App Download
Fireworks are seen during the celebration of China's National Day, in Hong Kong, south China, Oct. 1, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

Fireworks are seen during the celebration of China's National Day, in Hong Kong, south China, Oct. 1, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

With the regular measures to prevent and control the COVID-19 epidemic still in place, peace and joy have once again become the keywords of the first National Day holiday since the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong.

The long-awaited National Day holiday coincided with the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival. A peaceful and light-hearted moment with families became more precious for Hong Kong residents who suffered from the social unrest and COVID-19 epidemic over the past year.

"Compared with last year, the social atmosphere this year is much better, and the epidemic situation has eased. The restaurant even provides discounts. Our family can eat happily again," said a local resident surnamed Ting, who booked a Cantonese restaurant days before the holiday.

On the first day of October, many schools and universities in Hong Kong held flag-raising ceremonies to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) also held a solemn flag-raising ceremony on campus. During last year's social unrest, rioters occupied the university and confronted the police with bricks, petrol bombs, bows and arrows, turning the campus into a "battlefield." Police seized nearly 4,000 petrol bombs among various other weapons.

With the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong in late June, peace has returned to the campus, shops have resumed normal business hours, and residents no longer have to worry about being attacked by rioters when going out.

Just on Thursday, a group of protesters threatened public safety in Causeway Bay by suspectedly participating in unauthorized assemblies and possessing assault weapons. But the Hong Kong police strictly enforced the law to ensure that the vast majority of the public could enjoy a peaceful holiday.

The National Day also marked the first public holiday after the third wave of the COVID-19 epidemic was brought under control in Hong Kong. With the support of the central government, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government launched a universal community testing program from Sept. 1 to 14.

Over 6,000 local medics volunteered to work alongside the supporting teams from the mainland. Thanks to their efforts, daily new infections have returned to single digits.

The government has thus relaxed social distancing measures, giving a break to hard-hit industries such as retail, catering, tourism and freight transport.

During the holiday, restaurants, wet markets, shopping malls and amusement parks were packed with people and joy again. Hong Kong's economy is getting back on track.

In the meantime, Hong Kong's patriotic groups set up more than 1,000 street stands throughout Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories to distribute moon cakes, lanterns, epidemic prevention supplies to the public.

A shopping festival, organized by the Hong Kong Commerce and Industry Associations, kicked off on Thursday.

This year's shopping festival offers a wealth of discounts to the general public, which is expected to contribute to Hong Kong's economic recovery and add luster to the image of Hong Kong as a shopping paradise, said Alan Lee, initiator of the event.


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