Following is the speech (English translation) by the Postmaster General, Mr Allan Chiang, at the "People's Liberation Army Forces, Hong Kong" Special Stamps Issuing Ceremony today (June 30):
Major General Wang, distinguished guests and friends from the media,
Good morning and welcome to the issuing ceremony of "The People's Liberation Army Forces, Hong Kong" Special Stamps. The People's Liberation Army Forces arrived in Hong Kong at zero hour on July 1, 1997. Their primary responsibility is for the defence of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and for the past seven years, the PLA (HK) has performed its duty admirably, effectively upholding the principle of "one country, two systems".
Today, it is only right and fitting that we pay our deepest respect to these fine soldiers with applause.
In a move to pay tribute to the PLA (HK), Hongkong Post issues today a set of six stamps featuring the various faces of the Forces. We are most grateful for the generous support and enthusiastic assistance the PLA (HK) gave us during production of the stamps. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and to add to the celebratory atmosphere of this special occasion, PLA (HK) will hold a Garrison Open Day. As depicted on the $2.40 stamp, the Open Day gives people an opportunity to take a closer look at the state-of-the-art weaponry, and share a moment of camaraderie with members of the Forces. The $2.50, $3 and $5 stamps have in turn portrayed the Army, the Navy and the Air Force in all their glory and might. Needless to say, for those who are going to pay the garrison a visit tomorrow, you are promised an experience that you will never forget. I sincerely wish the Open Day a resounding success!
Lauded as "The Powerful and Civilised Military Force", the PLA(HK) is renowned for its strict observance of discipline, impeccable team spirit and complete dedication to the service of Hong Kong citizens. Hongkong Post shares and upholds a similar vow of service in the past 162 years - Linking People, Delivering Business. Since we changed to trading fund status, we operate on a self-financing basis and thus have to incorporate business considerations into our operating strategy. Nevertheless, we never lost sight of the importance of linking people in our search for business opportunities. In addition to fulfilling our duty as a postal service provider, we take part in all kinds of philanthropic activities. For instance, Hongkong Post responds swiftly to call for providing relief assistance in Mainland China by delivering emergency supplies to disaster areas. We also participate in voluntary community services such as visiting and helping the elderly and the children, notably by the PostCare Club, a volunteer group of Hongkong Post staff. Similarly, apart from performing its defence responsibilities, the PLA (HK) takes an active role in serving the community. As shown in the $1.80 stamp, it has taken part in blood donation campaigns and participated in tree-planting events for the greening of Hong Kong.
I hope the new stamp issue can draw the public closer to the PLA(HK) and get them to understand the revered "Guardian Angels of Hong Kong".
Ends/Wednesday, June 30, 2004