Young people from Hong Kong have been learning about nation's ancient traditions. Yang Zekun reports from Shandong.
The cultures of both Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland are exciting and impressive, and they share the same roots, according to Yu Hang-hong, a member of the Hong Kong Army Cadets Association, who recently visited Beijing for the first time.
The 19-year-old history major at Hong Kong's Lingnan University was part of a 301-strong delegation from 14 uniformed groups in Hong Kong. The eight-day trip, which started on July 20, allowed the young people to gain a better understanding of traditional culture through visits to cultural heritage sites in Beijing and Shandong province.
The tour - the Hong Kong Uniformed Groups 10,000-Mile Friendship Trek - originated in 2002. This year, the itinerary covered the Great Wall in Beijing, along with Jinan, Qingdao and Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, in Shandong, where they visited a temple dedicated to the ancient sage.
It was sponsored by the Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau and the city's Youth Development Commission, with assistance from the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Both the mainland and Hong Kong have recently expanded such exchange programs with the aim of carrying forward national spirit, cultivating the concept of the State and establishing friendships. To date, more than 7,000 young people from Hong Kong have joined the program and traveled to 13 mainland provinces and cities.
"We have different themes every year, such as in 2008, when we focused on the Olympic Games. This year's theme was to explore Confucian culture," said Wong Wai-man, the delegation leader.
"Cultural heritage is the root of the country's culture, and we discovered the roots of many Hong Kong traditions during our trip. Our young people should come to the motherland and learn more about traditional culture."