Saturday, May 22, 1999 Published at 04:28 GMT 05:28 UK
Birthday Buddha's tooth in Hong Kong
First class: The tooth arrives in Hong Kong
By Duncan Hewitt in Beijing
Senior officials from China accompanied the relic on a special flight from Beijing where it is normally kept out of sight in a pagoda.
A spokesman for China's Buddhist Association said it was being sent to Hong Kong at the request of the region's Buddhist community.
On Saturday it will be worshipped at a ceremony in a Hong Kong stadium to mark Buddha's birthday, which is being celebrated for the first time as a public holiday in Hong Kong.
Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa will be among dignatories in attendance.
China says the tooth is one of only two in existence, with the other in Sri Lanka.
Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, said there was no Buddhist scripture to prove its authenticity - a claim rejected as irrelevant by Taiwanese Buddhist leaders.
Sensitivity over the issue reflects China's desire to emphasise its influence over Chinese schools of Buddhism.
Beijing last year embarked on celebrations marking 2,000 years of Buddhism in China.
And senior Chinese religious officials will be in Hong Kong for the ceremony to welcome the tooth, which will be on display for a week.