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A powerful earthquake hit the Sichuan province near Ya’an city on 20th April 2013. During the BPA’s visit to Beijing in late April, BPA extended its sympathy to the earthquake victims. To show care and love from Hong Kong, BPA made an invitation to the Central Government to arrange students from the affected areas to visit Hong Kong upon completion of relief works. With the full support and assistance of the United Front Work Department of Sichuan Province and other facilitating organisations, delegation of students from Ya’an arrived Hong Kong this afternoon (22nd July 2013) and began their five-day exchange activities.
In tonight’s welcome dinner held by BPA, Mr. Yang Jian, Deputy Director of Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Mr Raymond Tam, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs; Ms. Ling Wen, Secretary for the United Front Work Department of Sichuan Province and Director of Liaison Office of Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Overseas; Mr. Dane Cheng, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager China; and Mr. Peter Lam, Council Chairman of Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong officiated. Representatives from several supporting organisations also attended the dinner as to welcome the delegation visit to Hong Kong.
Mr. Tam made a speech that Hong Kong society had been playing an active role in the reconstruction of affected areas in Sichuan. This showed the profound relationships between the two places. He was pleased to see the smile of the students and their parents and wished a memorable trip to them. Mr. Dane Cheng, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager China wished students to have a pleasant flight experience and bring the friendships back to Sichuan. He also joked that when students chose their future careers, aviation industry is a worthy choice.
Ms. Ling Wen, secretary for the United Front Work Department of Sichuan Province, expressed her gratitude to the preparation conducted by those organisations in Hong Kong, which made everyone in the delegation warm and memorable. She agreed very much with a line of lyrics in BPA’s anthem, “side by side, grow together.” She hoped Sichuan and Hong Kong can develop further interactions and stronger relationships
Mr. Jeffrey Lam, vice chairman of BPA said that BPA had been concerned about the reconstruction works in the affected areas of Sichuan. He hoped students from Ya’an would have a memorable trip and the interactions would be strengthened between two places. BPA also invited Sowers Action to lead the warm-up activities tomorrow morning. Through those relaxing team games, resilience, physical and mental health of students would be enhanced. Local students would also participate in these events to facilitate the exchange between the teenagers from the two places.
During the dinner, Mr. Andrew Leung, chairman of BPA and Mr. Wang Jun, deputy leader and coach of the delegation exchanged souvenirs. Thereafter, the delegation was officially launched when the officiating guests bursted the balloons under the students’ cheers.
Student representatives from these two places also gave their speeches and exchanged souvenirs. Yuen Kin-hang, representative of Hong Kong volunteers described students from Ya’an were as cute as great pandas. He presented them with a globe and wished them have the inspirations to experience cultures all over the world. Gao Xiao-xuan, a student from Ya’an said she was grateful to the assistance from Hong Kong and the general public. Natural disaster was both fortunate and unfortunate to them. After the disaster, she and her schoolmates learnt how to be tougher and more courageous. She added that they would give their love and warmth to others in future.
The volunteer team comprised about a hundred secondary and tertiary students organized by BPA, which is one of the features of the exchange programme. The volunteers will accompany with students from Ya’an in the visits and exchange. In the five-day trip, they will be visiting the Cathay City and the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks, which will introduce to them aviation industry and modern development of innovative technology. They will also explore the Marine and Asian Animal World in the Ocean Park, as well as experience the magic in the Disneyland. After enjoying the dynamic side of Hong Kong, the delegation will visit Tai Po Lam Tsuen to experience the traditional culture and customs of Hong Kong.
Most students from the delegation are from 6 to 16 years old. They are all well-rounded students who have shown academic excellence or literary talent after the resumption of class. Some of them suffered minor injuries in the earthquakes, yet all of them have fully recovered. It was the first flight experience to most of the students. We can feel their excitement and curiosity to the new things around. Besides, the 207-person delegation also comprised students’ guardians, staff members from the United Front Work Department of Sichuan Province and media representatives.
Promoting friendships and learn by sharing are the themes of the delegation. BPA expressed gratitude to the supporting organisations, which made the visit being carried out smoothly and become fruitful.