The outright propaganda feature is a dying art at China Daily, and I – for one – miss it greatly. So I must admit that I was absolutely delighted to read Wang Shanshan’s extended love letter to the PLA’s “attractive” Hong Kong garrison.
What does Wang see fit to tell us about the ever-virtuous Hong Kong PLA soldiers? Why, they’ve never once broken a traffic law, and they would surely never interfere with the working of Hong Kong’s courts. Last year, they re-scheduled a land-assault drill so as to avoid frightening beach-goers, a local yachting club, and the children of a nearby primary school. Locals who fall sick while visiting the garrison (and many do visit) are given expert medical care and the all-day company of a nurse. And out of respect for its neighbors, the PLA never, ever honks its car horns.
Of course, no paean to the virtues of the Chinese people would be complete without at least one back-handed slap at those whom the international community might incorrectly assume behave better than the heirs to 5000 years of civilization. Thus, Wang, knowing his genre, fulfills his obligation:
“Hong Kong people are always nice when they visit our barracks on the open days,” said Liao [a soldier stationed with the garrison]. “The are gentle and polite. They never spit or pick flowers. They showed us a society that is different from what I’ve seen in Hong Kong movies.”