President credits work of SAR leaders

By XU WEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-12-23 06:57
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President Xi Jinping meets with Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam, who is on a duty visit to Beijing, on Dec 22, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Xi says HK's LegCo election a success, reflects residents' democratic rights

President Xi Jinping reaffirmed the significance of the new electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Wednesday, saying it is a "good system" that will provide an institutional guarantee for the long-term prosperity and stability of the city.

The facts have shown that the new electoral system fits with the principle of "one country, two systems" and the reality of Hong Kong, Xi said after hearing Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's report in Beijing on the work of the SAR government over the past year.

The meeting, the first face-to-face encounter between the two in two years, came on the heels of the SAR's first Legislative Council election under the revamped electoral system on Sunday.

Xi said the election was a success, as it reflected the democratic rights of Hong Kong residents, put the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" into effect and established a political framework that enables wide-ranging and balanced participation from all sectors of society.

The president gave full recognition to the work of Lam and the SAR government, saying that the city has secured its turnaround from chaos to stability and attained remarkable outcomes in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hong Kong's economy grew 5.4 percent in the third quarter, compared with the same period in 2020, and full-year government projections for 2021 indicate its GDP will grow between 5.5 percent and 6.5 percent year-on-year.

Xi said the extraordinary journey of the SAR since its return to the motherland has demonstrated that the implementation of "one country, two systems" is conducive to upholding the fundamental interests of the nation, the Hong Kong SAR and the people of Hong Kong.

The central government will continue to unwaveringly implement the principle of "one country, two systems", he said, adding that he believes the strength of the principle will be further amplified with more in-depth practices and improvements in systems and mechanisms.

Premier Li Keqiang, who met with Lam on Wednesday morning, credited her for effectively containing the pandemic and rebooting the SAR's economy.

He pledged steps to refine the systems and mechanisms of the Hong Kong SAR that are related to the Constitution and the Basic Law and to fully support Lam in leading the SAR government to strengthen law-based governance.

He highlighted the importance of consolidating Hong Kong's position as an international hub in finance, trade and aviation, saying that the SAR government should take the initiative in aligning with national development strategies and contributing to reform, opening-up and the fostering of a new development paradigm at the national level.

He called for the SAR government to coordinate pandemic containment and socioeconomic growth and to give priority to solving prominent problems closely related to residents and improving the sense of gain among the public.

Lam expressed appreciation to the central government for supporting the city in fighting the pandemic, saying that the various sectors of Hong Kong look forward to the resumption of quarantine-free, cross-border travel with the mainland.

She added that the SAR will focus on economic growth and improving public well-being in the future.

Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress from Hong Kong, said the central government recognized the city's efforts to hold two major elections smoothly, which has paved the way for the SAR to continue fully implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong".

Looking ahead, Tam expected the newly formed legislature to work closely with the SAR government, tackling social problems and facilitating people to tap the opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, with the priority being to resume quarantine-free travel with the mainland.

It is important to make people feel that Hong Kong has changed, he added.

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