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HK must live up to its potential and nation's expectations

China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-12 06:55

HK must live up to its potential and nation's expectations

President Xi Jinping meets with Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the newly appointed chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in central Beijing on Tuesday. [Photo/Xinhua]

Premier Li Keqiang presented the official certificate of appointment to Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who will take office as the chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on July 1, at a simple but solemn ceremony held in Zhongnanhai, the seat of the central government on Tuesday. Afterwards, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li both met with her separately, and expressed their confidence in her ability to lead the SAR government in uniting Hong Kong society and improving the well-being of the 7 million local residents. They reiterated the central government's unwavering support for the SAR.

Such confidence is not misplaced. Lam demonstrated her integrity and capabilities as a conscientious civil servant early in her career, and with her outstanding performance in each of her roles, she worked her way up the bureaucratic ladder step by step. When she announced her resignation as chief secretary to run for the chief executive's office earlier this year, many in Hong Kong breathed a collective sigh of relief because they believed she was the best candidate for the top post in the SAR government. That is why her win in the chief executive election on March 26 came as no surprise.

However, she has some tough challenges to face on entering office, not least addressing the rifts in Hong Kong society and giving fresh momentum to its economy.

The pledges of support from the nation's top leaders will have been welcome, as the central government's unreserved support for the SAR has been crucial for it to weather a number of severe crises, such as the Asian financial crisis in 1997 when its financial system was being savagely attacked by international speculators, and in 2003 when the city was rocked by the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic.

Such support is testament to Beijing maintaining China's sovereign rule over Hong Kong under the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" and in accordance with the Basic Law and the nation's Constitution.

It is necessary to emphasize this constitutional reality because Hong Kong has encountered unprecedented political and economic challenges since the handover, and it is imperative that the SAR government never deviate from these constitutional touchstones while working wholeheartedly to resolve the city's deep-seated socio-economic issues.

It's the only way for Hong Kong to achieve lasting prosperity.

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