There is nothing like coming home to the ever changing vista of Hong Kong harbour out my window. As part of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Establishment Day celebrations China sent a couple of their warships to the party.
This one – a stealth missile corvette (light warship) armed with a 76mm main gun, just happened to drop anchor for the night near our place. Unfortunately it was too dark to get a photo of it overnight and I thought I had missed my opportunity as first thing in the morning it gave three sharp horn blasts and sailed down the harbour. Fortunately though, a while later it came cruising back past with men at arms on the deck. It was an interesting design – a relatively small vessel with virtually no windows, strong angles and very low to the waterline. Its black funnel cast a strong and bold contrast to the rest of the sleek boat. Yeah – I admit it – I’m a warship fan. I love seeing naval vessels, regardless of what nation they belong to.
Complete with weaponry both on the ship itself and in their arms I imagine this little ship is a formidable asset if needed. These sailors were equally as impressive as the ones on the US ship we saw a couple of months ago.
Trailing behind it, it had picked up a friend – a second corvette as sleek and sharklike as the first.
Now before someone says we are oppressed by the hand of China I need to point out that for now Hong Kong is still a multi-cultural, diverse and free city. People protest here ALL THE TIME and exercise their right to freedom of speech – in some ways more than most other countries I have experienced. The Chinese military presence (yes – there are soldiers based here) in Hong Kong is all but invisible and generally only noticeable on rare occasions when a ship like this comes to town or they open their headquarters for the public to see. As far as I understand it these ships were here as part of festivities not to exert control. While some might see it as China reminding Hong Kong where it belongs, in truth is it any different to a warship from any other country coming into port and allowing the public to see these ships up close and first hand? I’m not sure it is.
If I had known they were open to the public I would have tried to get tickets for Mitchell to see what a real naval ship is like for sure, just the same as if it had been a New Zealand frigate, an Australian submarine or a US Aircraft carrier.