Following is the speech by the Postmaster General, Mr Allan Chiang, at the "World Heritage in China" Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony today (November 25):
Chairman Ho, distinguished guests and friends from the media,
Good morning and welcome to the issuing ceremony of "World Heritage in China" Special Stamps. I would like to thank Mr Ho Sing-tin, Chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board, for taking time out of his busy schedule to officiate at today's ceremony.
Blessed with enchanting landscapes and scenic vistas, China is home to a people of great ingenuity and possesses such spectacular natural wonders and fascinating historical monuments that it takes a lifetime to explore. As of today, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has inscribed 29 world-renowned sites of China on the World Heritage List, and for that, we should be proud.
Today, Hongkong Post issues a set of special stamps to celebrate six scenic spots and historic sites that boast tremendous historical and cultural value, namely Potala Palace, Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Mount Huangshan, Old Town of Lijiang and Jiuzhaigou Valley. Yet their importance goes beyond being "must-see" tourist spots since they represent the tapestry of China's rich and profound culture, as well as the national pride of every Chinese.
Hongkong Post treasures cultural relics and history. Since the '80s, we have issued more than 10 sets of special stamps to promote cultural education, featuring themes such as "Port of Hong Kong Past and Present" (1982), "Historical Buildings of Hong Kong" (1985), "Historical Scenes of Hong Kong" (1987), "Hong Kong Rural Heritage" (1995), "Hong Kong Archaeological Finds" (1996) and "Traditional Trades and Handicrafts" (2003).
In fact, our stamp issues cover a wide range of subject matter other than culture and history. For instance, the "Waterbirds Special Stamps", jointly issued with Sweden Post, are of general interest; the joint issue of Hongkong Post, China Post and Macau Post - "The Successful Flight of China's First Manned Spacecraft" - touches on significant world issues; while the series of stamp sheetlets on tourism, which is also the theme of the upcoming Hong Kong 2004 Stamp Expo, carry a distinct local flavour. What appears to be a tiny piece of paper printed with text and graphics turns out to be anything but. For every release and every single stamp, the post administration must have gone through painstaking lengths to achieve the finest quality possible. It is no wonder Hongkong Post's stamp releases have gained a wide following both locally and internationally over the years.
Ends/Tuesday, November 25, 2003