President Xi Jinping said in Hong Kong that the central authorities fully acknowledge the work of Macao’s Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng and its government.
Xi was speaking after a meeting with Ho Iat Seng, held in Hong Kong, on 30 June during a visit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the inaugural ceremony of Hong Kong’s sixth-term government.
Stressing the need to maintain stability while pursuing progress, President Xi urged Ho Iat Seng and the Macao government to work tirelessly on epidemic prevention and control, consistently and effectively alleviate hardship affecting people’s livelihood, boost economic recovery, firmly promote a moderately diversified economy, and make every effort to safeguard social stability in Macao.
Ho Iat Seng, who was also in Hong Kong for events celebrating the 25th anniversary, thanked Xi for meeting with him and vowed to make solid efforts in all aspects and resolutely safeguard the sound development of Macao.
Durability of ‘One Country, Two Systems’
President Xi Jinping reaffirmed the long-term durability of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle in his address which focused, among other things, on the concept and practice of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, not just in Hong Kong but also in Macao.
Xi mentioned the Macao SAR several times in connection with “One Country, Two Systems”.
Xi underlined that “One Country, Two Systems” is an “unprecedented innovation” whose “fundamental purpose is to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security, development interests,
and to maintain long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao.”
The architect of the concept is none other than Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997), who in the late 1970s reportedly envisaged it first for Taiwan before extending it in the early 1980s to solving the Hong Kong and Macao matters left over by history.
Xi stressed that “‘One Country, Two Systems’ serves the fundamental interests of not only Hong Kong and Macao, but also the whole country.” Most importantly, Xi emphasised that “there is no reason for us to change such a good policy, and we must adhere to it in the long run.”
Xi’s speech included a thought-provoking remark concerning the practice of “One Country, Two Systems” in Hong Kong in the past quarter of a century: “A review of the past can light the way forward.”
Requirements and proposals for the SARs
Xi’s address also included four requirements and four proposals not just for Hong Kong but – both explicitly and implicitly – for Macao as well.
“First, we must fully and faithfully implement the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’,” Xi said, adding that this principle embodies a complete system and its top priority is to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.
“With this as a prerequisite, Hong Kong and Macao can keep the previous capitalist systems unchanged for a long time and enjoy a high degree of autonomy,” Xi stressed.
However, he also underlined that all residents in the two SARs should “willingly respect and uphold the country’s fundamental system,” which consists of the mainland’s socialist system and the nation’s leadership by the Communist Party of China.
Note that Xi’s remark mentioned “all residents” in Hong Kong and Macao – in other words, not only Chinese citizens but also foreign nationals. “Second, we must uphold the central government’s overall jurisdiction while protecting the SARs’ high degree of autonomy,” Xi said. Among other things, he underlined that the two SARs must uphold their executive-led systems.
“Third, we must ensure that Hong Kong is administered by patriots,” Xi emphasised, pointing out that “there is no country or region in the world where its people will allow an unpatriotic or even treasonous force or figure to take power.”
Xi’s fourth point was that “we must maintain Hong Kong’s distinctive status and advantages,” such as “Hong Kong’s close connection with the world market and strong support from the motherland.”
Xi’s address included four proposals that clearly also apply to Macao: Hong Kong should further improve its governance; it should continue to create strong impetus for growth; it should earnestly address people’s concerns and difficulties in daily life; and the people of Hong Kong should work together to safeguard harmony and stability.
Xi made it a point to highlight the situation of young people in Hong Kong. He reminded audiences that Hong Kong will prosper only when its young people thrive, that it will only develop when its young people achieve well-rounded development, and that Hong Kong will have a bright future only when its young people have good career prospects. He also singled out the challenges that young first-time home-buyers in Hong Kong are facing.
Concerning the nation’s rejuvenation drive, Xi concluded his address by quoting a Chinese adage: “I would like to borrow a pair of wings from the crane to soar up to the sky.”
He used it as a metaphor for “China’s national rejuvenation having become a historical inevitability, and the successful practice of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ in Hong Kong being an important part of this historic process.”