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Last Updated: Friday, 31 October, 2003, 10:27 GMT
HK welcomes China's space hero
Yang Liwei emerging from the Shenzhou V in Inner Mongolia
Yang has been greeted as a Chinese hero
China's first man in space, Yang Liwei, has arrived in Hong Kong for what is being seen as an attempt to boost patriotism in the former British colony.

Crowds of schoolchildren greeted Colonel Yang Liwei as he arrived at the airport.

From there he was whisked off for an official welcome from Hong Kong's leader Tung Chee-hwa.

His Shenzhou V space capsule has also arrived in the territory, where it will be put on public display.

The BBC's Chris Hogg in Hong Kong says Colonel Yang is a national hero and politicians here are only too keen to bask in his reflected glory.

It's nothing new - America did it years ago
David Choi
He was invited to Hong Kong by pro-Beijing politicians just hours after he completed his space mission.

The deal was reportedly sealed by Mr Tung in a meeting with China's President Hu Jintao at a recent summit.

Colonel Yang's six-day stay in the territory coincides with an exhibition which includes Shenzhou V, his spacesuit and other items from the mission.

Hong Kong's Science Museum will be open round the clock to try to meet demand, after more than 85,000 tickets were sold for the exhibition.

He is due to take part in a pop concert and variety show in his honour in front of more than 40,000 fans during the visit.

But correspondents say that many Hong Kong people are indifferent to Colonel Yang's feat.

"It's nothing new - America did it years ago," businessman David Choi told the Associated Press news agency.

"I won't feel anything just because of his visit," said Stanley Tong, a shop-owner.

Colonel Yang's Shenzhou V craft touched down on 16 October in northern China, 21 hours after being rocketed into space.

His return fulfils China's bid to become only the third country to send a man into space, after the former Soviet Union and the United States.


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