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Hu toasts Macao five years after return
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-21 01:22

President Hu Jintao yesterday called for proper handling of problems concerning the implementation of the "one country, two systems," while praising the concept initiated by the late leader Deng Xiaoping.

Macao Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah (L) is administered the oath of office by President Hu Jintao during the inauguration of his second term government in Macao December 20, 2004. [newsphoto] 
Justified by the successful efforts made during the return of Hong Kong and Macao, the formula has already displayed and will continue to display strong vitality, the president said.

But problems could occasionally arise in implementing the principle since the undertaking has never been tried before and it is a new subject for both the central government and the two special administrative region (SAR) governments.

"It is therefore necessary for both the central government and the two SAR governments, as well as Hong Kong and Macao compatriots, to actively explore ways to implement the principle," Hu said.The Chinese leader made the call at celebrations for the fifth anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland and the inauguration of the second-term government of Macao SAR.

The grand gathering was held at Macao Cultural Centre where the hand-over ceremony took place five years ago.

With Hu administering at the ceremony, Edmund Ho Hau Wah was sworn in as the second-term chief executive of the Macao SAR.

Ho won reelection on August 29 with 296 votes in favour and three abstentions from a total of 299 members of the 300-strong Election Committee.

On September 20, Premier Wen Jiabao issued a decree of the State Council, officially appointing Ho as chief executive for another five-year term in line with the Basic Law.

Ho was elected as the first chief executive of the Macao SAR on May 15, 1999.

Following Ho's swearing-in, principal officials of the Macao SAR government took their oaths under the supervision of the president.

Then, 10 Executive Council members of the Macao SAR were also sworn in under the supervision of Ho.

Senior officials of the Macao Special Administrative Region are sworn into office before President Hu Jintao (R) and Macao SAR Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah in Macao December 20, 2004. [newsphoto]
During his speech at the ceremony, Hu urged the broadest unity from all walks of life to ensure the long-term prosperity and stability of Macao.

"It is necessary to promote greater unity... among all social strata, sectors and communities to maintain and consolidate general harmony in society," he said.

There should be a spirit of mutual accommodation and seeking consensus while reserving differences when there are temporary differences on certain issues, he noted.

Hu urged the SAR government to put people first and constantly improve the level of governance.

"It is imperative for the SAR government to firmly establish the concept of serving and benefiting the people and to provide better services to the general public," he said.

Despite Macao's fast-paced development, additional efforts should be made to promote sustainable and healthy economic growth in the city, Hu added.

Meanwhile, the SAR should strengthen its personnel training to foster greater quality talent for Macao's future development.

When addressing the event, Ho expressed his thanks for the all-around and unreserved support form the central government.

He pledged to improve the SAR's governance to better serve Macao's people.

Also yesterday, Hu inspected the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Garrison Troops stationed in Macao, according to Xinhua.

Hu, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, inspected the troops of the PLA Macao garrison at their barracks on the Taipa Island.

Hu said in his speech after the inspection that the troops in the Macao SAR are symbolic of the resumption of the central government's exercise of sovereignty over Macao, and conform to the demands for maintaining national security and safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and serve as a powerful guarantee for Macao's long-term security and stability.

The president spoke highly of the performance of the PLA garrison troops in Macao during the past five years.

Hu urged the garrison to continue to respect and support the Macao SAR government and the Macao people in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, so as to make new contributions to Macao's stability and prosperity.

The garrison troops entered Macao upon its return to the motherland on December 20, 1999.

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