The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government held a welcome banquet atthe Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center here on Friday evening for three Chinese taikonauts and other Shenzhou VII manned space mission delegation.
About 360 guests attended the banquet, including HKSAR government officials, representatives of central government's liaison office in Hong Kong and members from the political, business and other sectors of the community.
In his welcoming speech at the banquet, HKSAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang said the successful historic space walk by the Shenzhou VII space mission had brought Hong Kong citizens' national recognition and national pride to a new high level.
"We are honored to invite you to visit Hong Kong and give Hong Kong citizens a chance to share the rejoice of our country's breakthrough in space mission," Tsang told three taikonaust Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng and other delegation members.
He added that Hong Kong citizens should overcome the current difficulty brought by global financial crisis with an indomitable will, which was very important for the taikonauts in their outer space journey.
A short documentary on the launch of Shenzhou VII and the spacewalk by the taikonauts, or Chinese astronauts, was screened beforethe banquet.
At the invitation of HKSAR Chief Executive, the three taikonauts arrived in Hong Kong Friday morning to start a four-dayvisit to the city.
The three taikonauts jointly carried out China's historic maiden space walk this September with the Shenzhou VII spacecraft, which means "divine vessels" in English.
The delegation will tour the Victoria Harbor to see the latest developments along the city's waterfront and then launch an exhibition on China's first space walk mission at the Hong Kong Science Museum Saturday.
During their stay in Hong Kong, the delegation will also meet tertiary students at a seminar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and brief them on the launch of Shenzhou VII, space walk technology and China's aerospace science development.