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Copyright 1997 The Straits Times Press Limited  
The Straits Times (Singapore)

July 2, 1997


LENGTH: 614 words

HEADLINE: Parades, protests in US

BYLINE: Lee Siew Hua, US Correspondent


Chinese Americans celebrate as Taiwanese Americans stage rally

WASHINGTON -Chinese in major North American cities watched and celebrated on Monday as China took back Hongkong from Britain.

Chinatown revellers in New York welcomed the midnight return of the territory with a procession of floats and a parade.

Chinese-Americans in the city will stage another major celebration on Sunday on Broadway.

One Hongkong immigrant in New York marked the changeover more quietly.

Mr Cornel Chan, a former entertainer who moved here in 1972, said he would watch a videotape of the ceremonies at home.

A director at the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association, he said in a telephone interview:

"The most important thing is that I feel happy that our land, our property, has come back. But I am a little worried about the future of Hongkong."

The Hongkong Economic and Trade Office in Washington organised a reception and live screening of the handover ceremonies at the plush Stouffer Mayflower hotel.

Administration officials, diplomats, Asian specialists, students and journalists were among the more than 1,000 guests present who joined in a toast to Hongkong.

Guests said they felt the sense of historic occasion despite the distance.

Mr Edward Chow, a senior US official whose grandfather migrated from China's Guangdong province, told The Straits Times:

"It's exciting to see the transition, and wonderful that it is so peaceful. I wish the people of Hongkong nothing but great success."

Many Americans had been expressing a sense of reserve or foreboding in the run-up to July 1, but he was more circumspect. He said: "This is a time to take all challenges and opportunities that are present, and go forward."

Many Asian specialists from US think-tanks were also celebrating -- in Hongkong itself -as calls to several institutes showed.

Among them were Dr Michel Oksenberg, a senior research fellow at the Asia/Pacific Research Centre of Stanford University.

Not all were upbeat, though. Chinese dissident Lian Shengde, a democracy leader at Tiananmen Square in 1989, staged a protest at the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

Over the weekend, about 200 pro-independence Taiwanese-Americans from Washington, Baltimore and Atlanta also held a "Say No To China" rally in front of the embassy.

GRAPHIC: Two revellers at the celebratory march through New York's Chinatown on Monday evening. -AFP picture.


LOAD-DATE: July 3, 1997

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