President Xi Jinping addresses a welcome dinner hosted by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Friday night. Xinhua
President Xi Jinping reiterated the Central Government’s firm commitment to “one country, two systems” on multiple occasions in Hong Kong on Friday, a day before the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.
“The road ahead may not be smooth, but our commitment to ‘one country, two systems’ remains unchanged, and our resolve remains firm and strong,” said Xi when addressing a welcome dinner hosted by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
The president compared the practice of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong over the past two decades to the growth of a seedling, which has become strong and robust despite wind and rain and yielded many fruits.
Hailing “one country, two systems” as a great pioneering initiative by China, Xi said its practice, featuring socialism in the main body of the country and capitalism in certain regions, is unprecedented in human political history.
“It is a breakthrough those before us made through exploration and with extraordinary courage. We the succeeding generation should practice and develop ‘one country, two systems’ with firm resolve,” Xi said.
During a meeting with a group of dignitaries from all walks of life in Hong Kong, Xi said for Hong Kong, the focus is not whether the “one country, two systems” principle will change or not, but how to implement it comprehensively and accurately.
Since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland two decades ago, the successful practice of the “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong has won global recognition, Xi said.
President Xi shakes hands with children during a visit to the Hong Kong Police Force’s Junior Police Call Permanent Activity Center and Integrated Youth Training Camp on Friday. Xinhua
‘Red line’ for handling
Xi drew a “red line” for handling relations between the mainland and Hong Kong, warning against attempts to undermine national sovereignty or challenge the Central Government’s power.
“Any attempt to endanger national sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the Central Government or the authority of the Basic Law of the HKSAR or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line, and is absolutely impermissible,” he said.
Hong Kong people enjoy more extensive democratic rights and freedom than at any other time in its history, he said.
The president stressed the importance of having a correct understanding of the relationship between “one country” and “two systems.”
“In conducting day-to-day affairs, we must be guided by a strong sense of ‘one country,’ firmly observe the principle of ‘one country,’ and thus correctly handle the relationship between the HKSAR and the Central Government,” he said.
On the other hand, Xi said, the “two systems” should and have every reason to stay in harmony and reinforce each other on the basis of “one country.”
The Central Government will unswervingly implement the policy of “one country, two systems” and make sure that it is fully applied in Hong Kong without being bent or distorted, he said.
Danger of internal rift
Hong Kong cannot afford to be torn apart by reckless moves or internal rift amid the intense global competition, Xi warned.
Hong Kong is a plural society with “different views and even major differences on some specific issues,” he acknowledged.
However, “making everything political or deliberately creating differences and provoking confrontation will not resolve the problems,” Xi said. “On the contrary, it can only severely hinder Hong Kong’s economic and social development.”
“Hong Kong is an affluent society, but it also faces enormous challenges posed by profound changes in the global economic environment and the increasingly intense international competition,” he said.
“It is imperative to always maintain a harmonious and stable social environment,” he said, noting that “harmony brings good fortune, while discord leads to misfortune.”
The concept of “one country, two systems” gives expression to the vision of peace and harmony in the Chinese culture, and it embodies a very important tenet, namely, seeking broad common ground while setting aside major differences, Xi said.
“On the part of the Central Government, we are ready to talk to anyone who loves the country, loves Hong Kong and genuinely supports the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, no matter what political views or position he or she may hold.”
Development top priority
Xi said Hong Kong should always focus on development as the top priority.
“Development, an abiding pursuit, is crucial for Hong Kong’s survival, and it holds the golden key to resolving various issues in Hong Kong,” he said.
The mainland’s continuous and rapid development over the years provides an invaluable opportunity and an inexhaustible source of strengths and broad space for Hong Kong’s development, Xi said.
“It is important to cherish the opportunity, seize it and focus your energy on Hong Kong’s development,” he stressed.(Xinhua)