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HK backed in fight against separatists

By HU YONGQI and An BAIJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-24 05:14

The central government firmly supports Hong Kong authorities in curbing separatists who seek "Hong Kong independence", President Xi Jinping said on Friday.

Xi met with Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, who came to Beijing to report on the SAR's annual work.

The central government fully acknowledges Leung's work in leading the Hong Kong government to contain the separatists and deal with violent street activities in line with the Basic Law, Xi said.

In October, two legislators-elect, Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, used derogatory language insulting the Chinese nation and displayed banners when taking oaths at a swearing-in ceremony.

Hong Kong's High Court ruled last month that the two must be disqualified as lawmakers.

Xi told Leung that the One Country, Two Systems policy is in line with national interests and also benefits Hong Kong people, and the policy should be firmly implemented and safeguarded.

Meanwhile, in a meeting with Fernando Chui Sai-on, chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region, Xi urged him to push forward the One Country, Two Systems policy.

Premier Li Keqiang separately met with the two chief executives on Friday.

The central government firmly adheres to the One Country, Two Systems policy and supports the Hong Kong government and chief executive in ruling the city based on the Constitution and the Basic Law, he told Leung.

Beijing will also continue to promulgate policies to support Hong Kong's development and strengthen communication between the special administrative region and the mainland, Li said.

Leung, who said early this month that he will not seek re-election next year, told Li that Hong Kong will align itself with national strategies, especially the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the country's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

Zhu Lijia, a professor of public administration research at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the country's top leaders are sending a clear message to safeguard national unity and territorial integrity.

Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, a think tank, said Xi reaffirmed the central government's position to include Hong Kong in the country's overall development blueprint.

Since Hong Kong's future is closely linked with the country's advancement, those who advocate "independence" in Hong Kong will carry little weight and are doomed to fail, Lau said.

Luis Liu in Hong Kong contributed to this story.

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