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CS visits HKSAR-funded reconstruction projects in Sichuan (with photos/video)

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, led the delegation to inspect HKSAR-funded reconstruction work in Sichuan and officiated at project completion ceremonies today (May 11).

     Mrs Lam arrived in Yingxiu in the morning to officiate at the breakthrough ceremony of Provincial Road 303 (Yingxiu to Wolong section), which is a road reconstruction project funded by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Provincial Road 303 (Yingxiu to Wolong section) is a lifeline access route to the Wolong Nature Reserve and a major road to northwestern Sichuan and Tibet. During the Wenchuan earthquake, the road suffered severe and extensive damage. This road reconstruction project funded by the HKSAR starts from Yingxiu Town, passes Gengda Town and ends at Wolong Town. The total length of the road project is about 44.5 kilometres. The project includes construction of six new tunnels, six new bridges and 14 tunnel sheds. During the reconstruction, between 2010 and 2011, heavy rainstorms and massive debris flows caused severe damage to the road. As a result, the design of the road was reviewed before reconstruction commenced again. The HKSAR committed $2.0343 billion towards financing this project. It is estimated that the works will be completed and the road will be opened by the end of 2016.

     Mrs Lam then officiated at the opening ceremony of the China Giant Panda Garden. The China Giant Panda Garden is the Shenshuping Base of the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda. The Shenshuping Base is located at Gengda Town in the Wolong Nature Reserve. The China Giant Panda Garden is the flagship project among the 23 HKSAR-funded reconstruction projects in Wolong. It is also the largest panda rearing, breeding and research centre, as well as the world's first transitional wilderness training centre for giant pandas. The centre has 30 giant panda enclosures, an enclosure for panda cubs, a giant panda breeding centre, a veterinary hospital, a transitional wilderness training ground for giant pandas, a scientific research and administration complex, an education centre, a visitor centre and more. In addition, the base is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to provide full support for scientific research on giant pandas. The HKSAR committed $258.59 million towards financing this project.

     The Sichuan side announced at the ceremony that fees would be waived for Hong Kong people visiting the Shenshuping Base and the Dujiangyan Base of the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in future as a token of thanks for the HKSAR's support in post-earthquake reconstruction of Sichuan over all these years. To express gratitude to Hong Kong people, the Wolong Nature Reserve, represented by the Secretary of the Wolong Special Administrative Region and Wolong Administration, Mr Huang Jianhua, presented a piece of embroidery art to the Hong Kong people during the ceremony. The embroidery was received by Mrs Lam on behalf of the people of Hong Kong. The embroidery was made by locals in Wolong. On the embroidery, there are two giant pandas and a couplet in Chinese expressing gratitude to the Hong Kong people. The embroidery will be displayed at the Dujiangyan Base of the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda, which is the Dujiangyan Giant Panda Rescue and Disease Control Centre, for Hong Kong visitors to see.

     In the afternoon, Mrs Lam visited a few other HKSAR reconstruction projects, namely the Museum of Nature and Earthquake, the Wolong Administration's Headquarters and the Digital Wolong Command Centre. She also watched a demonstration of the Digital Wolong System and the Smart Tourism System. The two systems make use of information and communication technologies for scientific research, public education, public safety, administrative capabilities and promotion of ecotourism.  She then met with local residents to see how they are settling into their new lives after the HKSAR supported the implementation of a number of restoration projects in local areas.

     At night, the HKSAR Government hosted a dinner to thank volunteers for taking part in the HKSAR reconstruction projects over all these years. At the dinner, Mrs Lam said that there has been active participation of so many non-governmental organisations and voluntary organisations in rebuilding Sichuan since the start of reconstruction work.  Representatives of the professionals from the construction sector and the social welfare sector have not only provided professional advice on reconstruction work voluntarily, but also conducted exchanges with and provided professional training to relevant professionals in Sichuan from time to time.  On behalf of the HKSAR Government, she extended her gratitude to the volunteers from various sectors for their continuous, selfless contributions.

     Mrs Lam will officiate at the opening ceremony of the "SmartHK, Chengdu" fair organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council tomorrow (May 12).

Ends/Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Issued at HKT 21:59


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