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FULL TEXT: President Hu Jintao Address for Hongkong’s 15th Anniversary Return to its Motherland, China

July 2, 2012 (TSR) – Chinese President Hu Jintao on Sunday delivered a speech at the meeting marking the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China and the inaugural ceremony of the fourth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The following is the full text of his speech:

Address by President Hu Jintao

of the People’s Republic of China

at the Meeting Celebrating the 15th Anniversary 

of Hong Kong’s Return to the Motherland and

the Inaugural Ceremony of the Fourth Government of the

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

1 July 2012

Fellow Compatriots,Dear Friends,

Today, we gather here on a joyous occasion to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong’ return to the motherland. First of all, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Central Government and people of all ethnic groups across the country, cordial greetings to all the people of Hong Kong. I wish to offer warm congratulations to Mr. Leung Chun-ying, the fourth chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), his team and members of the Executive Council who have just been sworn in. I also wish to express my sincere appreciation to all the fellow Chinese both at home and abroad and foreign friends who have cared about Hong Kong and have contributed to its smooth return and to its continued prosperity and stability!

The return of Hong Kong to the motherland will go down as a great achievement in the annals of Chinese history; it will be remembered as a historic event at the end of the last century that has a major international significance. Since the very moment of its return, Hong Kong has entered a new era and begun a new journey. Over the past 15 years, the principles of “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy have been fully implemented. Our compatriots in Hong Kong are now masters of their own fate and manage, on their own, affairs that fall within the autonomy of the SAR. Never before have Hong Kong residents enjoyed the range of democratic rights and freedoms as they do now. Despite the impact of the international financial crisis, Hong Kong has registered steady economic growth and has remained an international financial, trade and shipping center. It has all along been considered as the most free and open economy and one of the most competitive and dynamic regions of the world. Hong Kong has enjoyed all-round social development, continued high employment level and significantly improved social security. Its exchanges with the mainland have expanded across the board, with much stronger economic and trade ties and deepened cooperation in various areas. Hong Kong has continued to make unique contribution to the reform, opening-up and modernization drive in the mainland of China, and at the same time it has gained more and more opportunities and endless impetus for its development from the mainland. Our compatriots in Hong Kong enjoy a growing sense of identity and closeness with the country and the nation. In the face of serious disasters, our Hong Kong compatriots and people on the mainland have stood together and supported each other, fully demonstrating that we are kith and kin and blood is thicker than water. Also in these 15 years, Hong Kong has been more active in its external contacts and has seen its international influence further expanded.

All this fully proves that “one country, two system” is the best solution to the Hong Kong question left over from history and the best institutional arrangement for the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong after its return to the motherland. Advancing the cause of “one country, two systems” serves the interests and aspirations of our fellow compatriots in Hong Kong and the fundamental interests of the country and the nation. Through the great practice of “one country, two systems”, the pearl of Hong Kong now shines more brilliantly than ever.

The cause of “one country, two systems” is a ground-breaking endeavor and must be pushed forward in a pioneering spirit. Thirty years ago, Comrade Deng Xiaoping creatively put forward the great concept of “one country, two systems”. He personally led the efforts to formulate the basic principles and policies of the Central Government for Hong Kong, gave direct instructions for China’s negotiations with Britain on the question of Hong Kong the drafting of the Basic law of the Hong Kong SAR, and made foundational contribution to the return of Hong Kong and the great cause of peaceful reunification of the motherland. The third generation of the CPC collective leadership with Comrade Jiang Zemin at the core properly handled various complex problems and challenges before and after the return of Hong Kong, ensured the smooth handover and transition of Hong Kong, and made enormous, pioneering efforts for the full implementation of the “one country, two systems” principle. Over the past year, the Central Government has taken the maintenance of Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability as a major objective of governance under the new circumstances, encouraged the SAR government and the people of various sectors in Hong Kong to give priority to economic development, take effective steps to raise living standards, advance democracy in an incremental manner and promote inclusive, common and harmonious development, and supported their efforts in this regard, thus further enriching and improving the “one country, two systems” principle in both theory and practice. It is the shared mission of the Central government, the SAR government and the people of Hong Kong to keep exploring new ways for advancing the cause of “one country, two systems” based on the existing achievements.

 

The fundamental goal of the principles, policies and major steps of the Central Government for Hong Kong is to safeguard state sovereignty, security and development interests and to ensure long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. This is the core requirement and basic objective of practicing “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong. Therefore, we must correctly and comprehensively understand and implement the principle of “one country, two systems” and act in strict accordance with the Basic Law. We must stay committed to keeping a balance between adhering to the “one country” principle and respecting the differences of the “two systems”, between upholding the authority of the Central Government and ensuring a high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong SAR, between safeguarding the overall national interests and protecting the interests of various social sectors of Hong Kong, and between supporting Hong Kong in actively conducting exchanges with the outside world and opposing interference by external forces in Hong Kong affairs.

Fellow Compatriots,Dear Friends,

While fully recognizing the remarkable achievements Hong Kong has made since its return to the motherland 15 years ago, we should also be sober-minded of the deep-seated problems and challenges in the Hong Kong society. The next five years are of great significance to Hong Kong’s long-term development and will be a period of important opportunities which Hong Kong must seize and take advantage of. I hope the new SAR government and the people of Hong Kong will work harder in the following four areas.

First, promote social harmony and stability. Harmony and stability underpin development, while improving people’s livelihood is essential for building a harmonious and stable society. It is imperative for the new SAR government to follow the principle of putting people first in its administration, accurately gauge public opinion and take concrete and effective measures to properly address issues concerning people’s livelihood and social tensions. The SAR government should pay greater attention to ensuring equal opportunities, heed the concerns of disadvantaged groups and care about the younger generation so that the people of all sectors in Hong Kong will share the benefits of the city’s development and lead a better life. People from different social groups and sectors in Hong Kong should bear in mind the overall interests, follow the call of loving the motherland and loving Hong Kong, work for the broadest unity, wholeheartedly support the new SAR government in effectively administering Hong Kong pursuant to law, and increase the cohesion of the Hong Kong society.

Second, uphold the authority of the Basic Law. Rule of law is a core value of Hong Kong. The Basic Law has the supreme status in the legal system of the Hong Kong SAR and is the legal basis for administering Hong Kong pursuant to law. It is essential to put into practice each and every provision of the Basic Law and improve the institutions and mechanisms related to the implementation of the Basic Law. The executive, legislative and judicial branches of the Hong Kong SAR should take the lead in strictly observing the Basic Law, firmly upholding the Basic Law and performing their duties in accordance with the Basic Law. Since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, the political system and democracy have developed in an incremental and orderly manner, and achieved much progress. We should continue to advance the democratic process in Hong Kong as provided for in the Basic Law and the relevant decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

 

Third, enhance competitiveness. Hong Kong must work hard to increase its competitiveness if it is to win in the increasingly intense regional and international competition. It must have better strategic planning for its long-term development and bring into better play the role of the government in promoting economic and social development. It must update its development concepts, encourage and support various innovation programs, enhance the services sector and foster new economic growth points. It must have a thorough understanding of the profound changes in the global economic landscape, make full use of its extensive international reach and its advantages in other areas and grasp critical opportunities for development. At the same time, it is all the more important for Hong Kong to take advantage of the vigorous economic development on the mainland to expand and deepen its exchanges and cooperation with the mainland in order to achieve mutually complementary, win-win and common development.

Fourth, strengthen human resources development. Human resources are the most important strategic resources and lie at the heart of competition in today’s world. It is essential to develop education, science and technology and culture with a view to turning out all types of high-caliber professionals at all levels required for the development of various sectors. Priority should be given to nurturing people of leadership quality who love the motherland and Hong Kong, outstanding young potential political leaders in particular, by providing opportunities and platforms for them to stand out and acquire capabilities so that they will carry on the tradition of loving the motherland and Hong Kong and the cause of “one country, two systems”.

Fellow Compatriots,Dear Friends,

The central Government will remain committed to implementing the principles of “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy, to fully supporting the chief executive and the Hong Kong SAR government in carrying out administration according to law and to maintaining and promoting the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong together with the people of all sectors in Hong Kong. We are confident that with the joint efforts of the Central Government, the Hong Kong SAR government and people of all sectors of Hong Kong, efforts to practice “one country, two systems” will bear richer fruits and the road to common prosperity and development of both Hong Kong and the mainland will open broader prospects.

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