The fireworks show over Victoria Harbour to celebrate China’s National Day on October 1 will take “victory in the War of Resistance” against Japan as its main theme, according to organizers.

2015 marks 70 years since Japan’s surrender in the Second World War, bringing an end to the country’s eight-year invasion of China. On September 3, Beijing marked Victory over Japan Day with a lavish military parade presided over by president Xi Jinping.

The nine-part National Day display will see over 23,000 fireworks fired over 23 and a half minutes. The “effect of alarms and exploding missiles” will be used to “create a war-like atmosphere.”

Fireworks over Victoria Harbour
Fireworks over Victoria Harbour. Photo: Wikicommons.

This year’s National Day fireworks will be the first show in two years. In 2013, fireworks were cancelled after 39 people were killed in a ferry collision off Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island. One of the ships had been headed to the fireworks display, scheduled to take place half an hour later.

Government officials mourning
Government officials mourn the victims of Lamma ferry disaster. Photo: Wikicommons.

In 2014, the show was cancelled again—officially to mark the first anniversary of the Lamma Island ferry collision, although the eruption of pro-democracy Occupy protests in areas around the site was most likely a decisive factor. Cancellation of the fireworks was announced on September 29, one day after protesters took over major streets and police attempted to clear the crowds using tear gas.

Ryan Kilpatrick

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick is an award-winning journalist and scholar from Hong Kong who has reported on the city’s politics, protests, and policing for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Guardian, The Independent, and others