By Lu Minand Zhu Yu
April 15 marks China’s 6th National Security Education Day, and the first since the implementation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in late June last year. The Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR hosted a series of publicity and educational activities that day, the most eye-catching of which was the Chinese-style marching performance by the five disciplined services of the HKSAR government, namely the Hong Kong Police Force, the Correctional Services, the Customs and Excise, the Fire Services and the Immigration Department.
It was the first time that the HK Police Force (HKP) performed Chinese-style goose-stepping on an official occasion since Hong Kong returned to China nearly 24 years ago and in its own 177-year history.
Commands are given in Cantonese rather than English
Apart from formation and steps, marching commands were called out in Cantonese Chinese rather the English for the first time. The other disciplined forces were performing marching steps simultaneously with the police force but at different locations – also in Chinese-style goose-steps, but the commands were called out in Chinese Mandarin.
An official at the HKSAR Immigration Department said they began to introduce Chinese marching elements in 1999 and let the guard of honor stage marching performance at relevant occasions, to “demonstrate Hong Kong as an inseparable part of the motherland”.
“This is the first time I watched the performance at such a close range!” said “HK-born alien”, a net blogger who supported HK police, adding that “as a Chinese, a Hong Kong native, I feel so proud.”
High expectations for studying Chinese-style marching steps
Pan Zi’an, a member of the HKP Guard of Honor and a chief inspector, has already watched on video the flag-raising ceremony at the Tian’anmen Square and the National Day military parade. On the Open Day, he visited the barracks of PLA Hong Kong Garrison.
“It’s very professional, very brilliant,” he said. He appreciated the emphasis on the sense of wholeness and urging everyone to do their movements well. “I’m full of expectations for practicing the steps myself one day.”
Trained by officers of PLA HK Garrison for the first time
At the end of February this year, Hong Kong Police College held a 12-day Chinese-style marching training session, for which it invited members from the PLA HK Garrison to teach and train a total of 79 marching instructors from the five disciplined services of HK.
As the PLA officers were teaching in Mandarin, the Cantonese-speaking instructors had to be more concentrated. After the 12-day training session, Lo Yee-chung, an instructor and the Chief Drill and Musketry Inspector (CDMI) from the Hong Kong Police College, spoke Mandarin more fluently.
Lo felt honored to be one of the first trained instructors and to participate in the first public performance. “It’s a good start to let the public know about Chinese-style marching. I hope activities like this will raise their awareness of national security,” he said.