Washington Cultural Exchange participated in the historic "Hong Kong Handover" by sending three
student delegations to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China during the handover period. The first WCE
Delegation arrived prior to the handover, the second WCE Delegation experienced the handover,
and the third WCE Delegation arrived in Hong Kong only days after the handover. Our friends both
in Hong Kong and Guangzhou truly valued our presence enabling us to share in this historic event
On the 26th of June 1997 a 60 member WCE
Delegation led by Ed Lundberg arrived in Hong Kong. Jim Murphy, WCE & USATF Board Member, was
the Official WCE Representative at the Handover. There was an electric feeling of anticipation
for the handover as the holidays began on the evening of the 28th of June. Literally, hundreds
of thousands of people filled Kowloon as we rode the Star Ferry and walked along the waterfront.
Streets in Kowloon were closed to motor traffic to accommodate the crowds and allow space for
handover rehearsals to prepare. The excitement and celebration was even more evident in
Guangzhou. Chinese Flags were everywhere. A banner hung over the free market (and elsewhere)
declaring an end to China's hundred years of shame. The faces of our familiar guides were
glowing, proud to be apart of the reunification of Hong Kong. July 1st was a National Day of
Celebration for all of China.
Prior to and after the handover, it was
business as usual in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. With the ending of the Handover Holidays on the
3rd of July, commerce again became more important than historic events. The only noticeable
sign of the handover was the Chinese and SAR Flags flying over Hong Kong instead of the
British-Hong Kong Colonial Flag. Even with the change of Government in Hong Kong there were no
visible effects. None at the airport or at the border or in the streets. Nothing. In Guangzhou,
the faces of our guides are still glowing, but it is business as usual. They eagerly await the
arrival of the next WCE Delegation.