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HK 10 Years > From China Daily Newspaper

Hu hails Hong Kong as 'window and bridge'
(China Daily)

Editor's note: President Hu Jintao made a speech yesterday at the meeting marking the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the third government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The following is the full text:

Fellow Compatriots,

Dear Friends,

Ten years ago today, at the handover ceremony of Hong Kong held by the Chinese and British governments, the Chinese government solemnly announced its resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Hong Kong SAR). Hong Kong's return to the motherland fulfilled the century-old wish of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, including the people in Hong Kong. It will go down as a great event in the annals of Chinese history.

Today, after 10 years, we are meeting here to warmly celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. First of all, I would like to extend, on behalf of the central government and people of all ethnic groups across the country, cordial greetings to all the people in Hong Kong. I also would like to offer our warm congratulations to Mr Donald Tsang, the third Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR, his team and members of the Executive Council who have just been sworn in. I am confident that the Hong Kong SAR government will draw upon the experience of the previous governments, build on their success and lead the Hong Kong people in a concerted effort to turn Hong Kong into an even more prosperous city.

As I speak to you, I cannot but recall the historical process of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. Mr Deng Xiaoping creatively put forward the scientific concept of "one country, two systems" and personally oversaw China's negotiation with Britain on Hong Kong and the drafting of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, thus breaking a new ground in striving for China's peaceful reunification. Our thoughts are with him today. Let us also express our great admiration to Mr Jiang Zemin who made historical contribution to the smooth handover and transition of Hong Kong and the successful implementation of the "one country, two systems" concept.

I also want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all the fellow Chinese, both at home and abroad, and foreign friends who care about Hong Kong and have contributed to its return and its continued prosperity and stability.

The past 10 years since Hong Kong's return have been a decade of both challenges and remarkable progress.

During this decade, the central government has earnestly followed the principles of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy. It has, acting in full compliance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, endeavored to ensure prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. Hong Kong has maintained its capitalist system and way of life and fully exercised executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including the power of final adjudication as mandated by the Basic Law. The people of Hong Kong have enjoyed extensive democratic rights and freedoms. The principles of "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy have been turned into a living reality.

During the past decade, the two chief executives, Mr Tung Chee-hwa and Mr Donald Tsang, with the full support of the central government and the mainland, led the Hong Kong SAR government and people in meeting such grave challenges as the Asian financial crisis and SARS. They upheld the overall stability of Hong Kong, revitalized Hong Kong's economy, and Hong Kong has made great progress in all fields of endeavors.

During the past decade, Hong Kong's exchanges and cooperation and particularly its business ties with the mainland have grown increasingly closer. With stronger support from the mainland, Hong Kong serves as an important window and bridge for China's economic, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges with the rest of the world. Through their dedicated efforts, the people in Hong Kong have both promoted the development of Hong Kong and contributed their share to China's modernization drive.

During the past decade, Hong Kong has steadily expanded its relations with other parts of the world. It has maintained and developed economic and cultural ties with countries and regions as well as some international organizations. It has remained a free port and an international financial, trade and shipping center. It has been consistently rated as the most open and free economy and one of the most dynamic regions with the best business environment in the world. Hong Kong, an international metropolis, is thriving as never before.

Today's Hong Kong enjoys stability and has a dynamic economy, and its democracy is growing in an orderly way. The Hong Kong people enjoy their lives and everywhere in the city one sees a scene of prosperity. Hong Kong's success has indisputably demonstrated that "one country, two systems" is the right policy for Hong Kong. It shows that the Hong Kong people are fully capable of managing Hong Kong well and sustaining its growth. It shows that Hong Kong can always count on the great motherland to ensure its prosperity and stability.

Fellow Compatriots,

Dear Friends,

Ten years is just a very brief moment in the long course of human history. But for the cause of "one country, two systems" we are advancing, the past decade has been ground-breaking in significance. Over the 10 years, we have obtained much valuable experience in this great endeavor, which may be summarized into the following four major points:

First, it is important to fully and faithfully appreciate and implement the policy of "one country, two systems". Basically, the policy of "one country, two systems" means that in the People's Republic of China, the State practices the socialist system. A special administrative region directly under the entral government is set up in Hong Kong upon its return. Hong Kong maintains its capitalist system and exercises a high degree of autonomy pursuant to the Basic Law. We should fully and faithfully implement this policy under all circumstances. "One country, two systems" is an integral concept. "One country" is the prerequisite of "two systems". Without "one country", there will be no "two systems". "One country" and "two systems" cannot be separated from each other. Still less should they be set against each other. "One country" means that we must uphold the power vested with the central government and China's sovereignty, unity and security. "Two systems" means that we should ensure the high degree of autonomy of the Hong Kong SAR and support the chief executive and the SAR government in exercising government power as mandated by law. Only when these two points are fully observed, can the strength of the "one country, two systems" policy be brought into play to the real benefit of the Hong Kong people.

Second, it is important to strictly comply with the Basic Law. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR is the legal guarantee of Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability and the legal basis for administering Hong Kong pursuant to law. The supreme status of the Basic Law in Hong Kong's legal system must be upheld and the Basic Law must be strictly abided by. The executive, legislative and judicial branches and social organizations in the Hong Kong SAR, the central government, the government departments and organizations at all levels and in all areas on the mainland, and the Hong Kong residents and people on the mainland must all observe the Basic Law. The provisions of the Basic Law on Hong Kong's political system are in keeping with the particular conditions in Hong Kong and consistent with the legal status of the Hong Kong SAR. By observing the relevant provisions of the Basic Law, we can surely promote the gradual and orderly development of Hong Kong's political system.

Third, it is important to give high priority to promoting economic development and improving people's well-being. To grow economy and improve people's life is the most important task for Hong Kong and the common desire of the Hong Kong people. Only with continued economic development can Hong Kong improve the life for its people, maintain stability and develop a democratic system that suits its actual conditions. With the backing of the mainland which is experiencing fast growth, Hong Kong enjoys unique opportunities and favorable conditions. As long as the SAR government and the Hong Kong people work in partnership, give full play their strengths, enhance economic cooperation with the mainland, and adapt to accelerated economic globalization and the global industrial relocation, they can certainly ensure Hong Kong's sustained and steady economic growth and improve their well-being. The central government will earnestly implement policies and adopt new ones that facilitate Hong Kong's economic development. We will endeavor to expand areas and improve mechanisms of our cooperation with Hong Kong, upgrade it and make it more effective.

Fourth, it is important to uphold social harmony and stability. Social harmony and stability are essential for maintaining a sound business environment, growing economy and improving people's life in Hong Kong. They serve the interests of the Hong Kong people. People from different social groups and sectors in Hong Kong have different interests and priorities. But the vast majority of the Hong Kong people love the motherland and Hong Kong. They share the same fundamental interests on this critical issue. The Hong Kong people from all walks of life should close ranks and make every effort to advance their well-being and China's interests, and they should resolutely oppose any attempt to undermine these interests. It is important that the Hong Kong people adhere to the social consensus of upholding public interests, unity and inclusiveness, put the overall and long-term interests of Hong Kong and China's national interest above everything else, and expand common ground while shelving differences through cool-headed dialogue. As you do this, there will be no problem or differences that cannot be settled, and you can promote economic and social development in Hong Kong and share its benefits.

Fellow Compatriots,

Dear Friends,

The concept of "one country, two systems" is a unique contribution made by the Chinese nation to mankind's political development. It is an endeavor to promote common prosperity of both the mainland and Hong Kong and an important part of the great cause to rejuvenate the Chinese nation. To advance this great cause requires the joint efforts of the central government, the Hong Kong SAR government and all the Hong Kong people. Here, I wish to reiterate that the central government will remain committed to the principles of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy and act in strict accordance with the Basic Law. It will firmly support the chief executive and the Hong Kong SAR government in exercising government power as mandated by law. It will fully support Hong Kong in promoting economic development, improving well-being of the people and developing democracy. It will vigorously promote exchanges and cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong in economic, education, science and technology, cultural, public health, sports and other fields, and actively support Hong Kong SAR in conducting external exchanges.

In short, all the central government policies concerning Hong Kong are designed to promote the interests of Hong Kong and its people and create a better future for Hong Kong and its people.

Fellow Compatriots,

Dear Friends,

The people of all ethnic groups across China care deeply about Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong people also care deeply about the motherland. Under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, people of all ethnic groups on the mainland are putting into practice the scientific thinking on development and vigorously promoting economic, political, cultural and social development. They are working in unison to build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and accelerate the drive of socialist modernization. Thanks to years of efforts, we have made remarkable achievements in China's development. The Chinese people have never enjoyed better life as they do today, and they have never been in such high spirit as they are today. China's international standing has been significantly raised. The fast development of our great motherland is made possible by the hard work of people of all ethnic groups in China including the Hong Kong people. It is a source of pride for all the Chinese people.

Both the mainland and Hong Kong are now at a new historical starting line in their development endeavor. We face both rare opportunities of development and grave challenges. Let's jointly seize opportunities and meet challenges and strive to make new progress in common development. We are fully convinced that working closely with the people of the motherland, the Hong Kong people can surely create another success story in Hong Kong's development and make new contribution to the rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation!

Thank you!

(China Daily 07/02/2007 page4)

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