Document 20 of 22.
Copyright 1997 Associated Press
June 28, 1997; Saturday
20:53 Eastern Time
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 389 words
HEADLINE: AP Photos WX108, WX109
The coming handover of Hong Kong to the Peoples Republic of
China was celebrated here with a long paper dragon, huge red PRC flags and marchers
vastly outnumbering anti-China protesters.
A half-mile (kilometer) parade of nearly 3,000 Chinese, Chinese Americans and
their friends crossed the National
Mall to a festival by restaurants and other Chinatown businesses marking the
expiration at Monday midnight of Britain's 155-year rule over Hong Kong.
It produced perhaps the largest mass of starred, red Chinese flags seen in the
U.S. capital. Confrontation with barely
a dozen anti-communist activists was limited to chants, much picture-taking and
some taunts and passing of leaflets and anti-Beijing petitions.
The demonstrators organized by the U.S.-based Party for Freedom and Democracy
in China wore black arm bands. They displayed a painting of a student
confronting a tank at Beijing's 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and signs asking
''What is there to celebrate? Since Oct. 1,
1949, over 36,950,000 Chinese people have died from persecution.''
''This is not a celebration of a communist takeover, it is a celebration of the
end of unequal treaties,'' said martial arts master Tai Yim, who operates Kung
Fu centers in Washington's suburbs.
About 60 of his
students mostly non-Chinese took turns manning the twisting, 30-foot (10-meter)
dragon in the parade and a pair of equally ferocious imitation lions.
Yim was referring to 19th Century treaties ending the Opium Wars and making
Hong Kong a British colony that
expire Monday under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Parade sponsors also emphasized the historical. Without mentioning communism,
their announcement recalled the American Revolution against British colonialism
and commented that ''China has survived and progressed ... although we would
like to see more advancement in democracy and government of law.''
Shengde, a spokesman of the protesters, said the cost of free box lunches, canned
beverages and Hong Kong-China T-shirts distributed to the celebrants plus the
masses of red flags pointed to Chinese official support.
However, organizing committee spokesman Xie Shiqing, a University of Maryland
student, said the affair was financed by local businesses and fund-raising by
Chinese student associations.
LOAD-DATE: June 28, 1997
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