Video: Gala Dinner in Brussels
The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels (HKETO, Brussels) concluded its celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) by holding martial arts-themed gala dinners in Paris (19 October) and Brussels (24 October), inspired by the works of celebrated Hong Kong author Louis Cha, better known by his pen name Jin Yong.
The Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union, Ms Shirley Lam, introduced some of Hong Kong's achievements over the past 20 years with the distinguished guests during the dinners. She pointed out that Hong Kong enjoys a unique advantage under "one country, two systems".
"We benefit greatly from strong links with the Mainland of China and, at the same time, we retain our separate legal, financial and economic systems. We have used our experience and skills in doing business with the outside world for over half a century. Our international outlook and connectivity and the high degree of autonomy we enjoy has given us an edge".
Quoting the title of a video screened at the events, "The Best is Yet to Come", Ms Lam said that the HKSAR Government continued to strive to make the city even more competitive and connected.
"Our Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam, in her first Policy Address delivered on 11 October, outlined a full range of proposals to promote and facilitate Hong Kong to be an ideal place for companies to expand their business, and also a more liveable and smarter city for our people and visitors."
Mrs Lam also spoke about the new measures to make the tax system even more business friendly, the Government's strategy to boost innovation and technology development, mega infrastructural projects that are underway and the unique opportunities Hong Kong will enjoy under the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development.
The theme of the dinners was chosen because of the importance and influence of wushu (martial arts) in Hong Kong's tradition, values and way of life, while the food highlighted the city as a culinary paradise with a rich culture. Chefs and students of the Hong Kong Chinese Culinary Institute created and prepared a refined menu inspired by the mythical dishes Huang Rong prepared for Master Hong Qigong in Jin Yong's novel "The Legend of the Eagle-Shooting Heroes" *.
Skilled and colourful performances were given by athletes from the Hong Kong Wushu Union representative team - all gold medalists from competitions such as the Olympic invitational games, Universiade, the Asian Games, East Asian Games, World Championships, Asian Championships, Junior World Championships and the Junior Asian Championships. In addition to their performances at the gala dinners, the wushu athletes gave three demonstrations at universities and schools in France and Belgium.
At the gala dinners, French academic Ms Brigitte Duzan, an expert on Chinese literature and Hong Kong films, outlined the development of martial arts literature from its birth during the Warring States period to its revival in Hong Kong in the 1950s when it was the subject of films and television series, many inspired by the works of Dr Louis Cha, writing under his pen name Jin Yong. She explained that wushu is not only an art of combat, but also embodies a profound ethical philosophy of self-improvement and the cultivation of moral principles.
At the gala dinner in Brussels, the HKETO, Brussels also donated sets of of Jin Yong novels in Chinese, English and French to representatives of the Ghent University (UGent) and the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) for their libraries so that their students and faculties could learn more about martial arts novels as an important component of Chinese literature, as well as getting to know the works of Jin Yong.
* The title is also translated as the "The Legend of the Condor Heroes"