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Global Times: Xi marks HKSAR's 25th anniversary, points clear future of city as 'no need to change a good system'

BEIJING, July 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A joyful and exciting sentiment was widely shared on Friday not only in Hong Kong, despite the wind and rain, but also in the Chinese mainland and beyond the country on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the city's return to the motherland. Hong Kong is embarking on a new journey of transition from chaos to order and to greater prosperity. Local officials and observers said the city has entered its best time.

While Hong Kong residents shared high expectations as the city was reborn from the chaos and difficulties with firm support from the central government, President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech, summarizing the practice of the "one country, two systems" principle, pointing out a clear direction for Hong Kong's future, and injecting confidence and momentum for its growth.

In a speech delivered at the ceremony celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Xi said the "one country, two systems" principle has withstood the test of practice and time, and been supported by all Chinese people and recognized by the international community.

The principle is an unprecedented great initiative, and its fundamental purpose is to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao, Xi noted. There is no reason to change a good system, and it must be upheld for a long time.

'One country' as top priority

Xi's remarks about upholding the "one country, two systems" drew warm applause during the meeting. As long as the "one country" principle is further strengthened, the advantages of the "two systems" will be further underscored.

By reaffirming the purpose and the essence of the successful practice of the "one country, two systems," including advancing the country's reunification and safeguarding the sovereignty, security and development interests while maintaining the capitalist system of Hong Kong to boost its prosperity, Xi's speech signaled that the "one country, two systems" is in line with the fundamental interests of the country and of Hong Kong, and will be fully and correctly implemented in the long run.

Experts said it means that this principle won't be abandoned because of difficulties encountered, easing the doubts and reassuring the public following the ups and downs that the city went through, particularly after the social turmoil in 2019 severely affected the constitutional order of the city.

"To summarize the experiences of the past 25 years, the essential requirement for the successful practice of the 'one country, two systems' would be to uphold the principle 'one country' and implement the idea of the nation," Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Friday.

"Without the idea of 'one country' and respect of the Constitution, the 'one country, two systems' won't succeed," Lau said.

Only under "one country" can the constitutional order built on the Constitution and the Basic Law   be safeguarded, the Communist Party of China-led socialist political system be guarded, and the power of the central government be respected, so that the city would smoothly integrate into the country's overall development plan, and some deep-seated problems in Hong Kong can be fixed, he added.

Clear direction

Over the past 25 years, Hong Kong withstood a number of challenges, including the financial crisis, the COVID-19 epidemic and the severe social turmoil, with the help of the central government and under the "one country, two systems." Some in Hong Kong are unsure about the city's future after 2047, as the principle stipulated that Hong Kong's capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years after returning to the motherland.

Standing at the mid-point of the practice of the "one country, two systems," "those people are reassured by Xi's message," Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the NPC Standing Committee from Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Friday. "As the principle is praised as a good system, Xi gave a clear answer that there's no need to change it, easing some doubts in Hong Kong and pointing out the direction for the city."

"Even if it's a long journey for practicing the 'one country, two systems,' as long as Hong Kong does not waver and walks forward firmly with the country, there will certainly be good results," Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, convener of the Executive Council meeting and lawmaker, told the Global Times on Friday.

The practice of the "one country, two systems" will continue steadily, she said.

During his speech, Xi laid out some fundamental requirements for practicing the "one country, two systems," saying that safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests is the top principle of the "one country, two systems." The CPC-led socialism with Chinese characteristics should be respected and safeguarded by all the residents including those in SARs.

The central government also has full governance over the SARs, which is the origin of their high degree of autonomy. Only when the full governance of the central government and the high degree of the SAR coordinate with each other will the SAR be well governed, Xi said.

The national security law for Hong Kong was formulated and the electoral system was reformed and improved to ensure only patriots govern Hong Kong. The democratic system in Hong Kong is in line with the "one country, two systems" principle and the constitutional status of Hong Kong, and is conducive to safeguarding the democratic rights of Hong Kong residents, Xi said.

On the principle of only patriots governing Hong Kong, Xi said no country or region in the world will allow unpatriotic or even traitorous or treasonous forces and figures to take power. To keep the power to administer the HKSAR firmly in the hands of patriots is essential for safeguarding the long-term stability and security of Hong Kong, and it must not be shaken at any time, he said.

The practice of the "one country, two systems" has been part of our country's governance, and standing at the critical point amid a rapidly changing geopolitical environment, the practice of the principle successfully conveys the significance for the country's rejuvenation including solving the Taiwan question, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs at Nankai University, told the Global Times.

"The purpose of designing the 'one country, two systems' is to realize national rejuvenation," Li said, noting that in advancing the "one country, two systems" practice in the future, the realization of national rejuvenation will always be its essence.

SOURCE Global Times

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