Xi’s HK visit leaves up­beat im­pres­sion

Pres­i­dent urges unity, reaf­firms ‘one coun­try, two sys­tems’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s trip to Hong Kong, which con­cluded on Satur­day, boosted the con­fi­dence of its peo­ple for a bet­ter fu­ture, de­spite var­i­ous chal­lenges re­main­ing ahead, an­a­lysts and res­i­dents said.

Dur­ing his 49 -hour visit to the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion, Xi par­tic­i­pated in 20 ac­tiv­i­ties and held in­ten­sive talks with peo­ple from all walks of life, rang­ing from school­child­ren and teenagers to top govern­ment of­fi­cials.

He also in­spected the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army’s Shek Kong bar­racks in Hong Kong on Fri­day. The gar­ri­son should res­o­lutely cham­pion State sovereignty and en­sure the re­gion’s pros­per­ity and sta­bil­ity, he said.

In his speech on Satur­day mark­ing the 20th an­niver­sary of Hong Kong’s re­turn to China, Xi called on the fifth-term govern­ment of the Hong Kong SAR to unite peo­ple of all sec­tors to fully and faith­fully im­ple­ment the prin­ci­ple of “one coun­try, two sys­tems”.

Not­ing that China’s rapid de­vel­op­ment pro­vides an in­valu­able op­por­tu­nity, Xi called on the peo­ple to “cher­ish the op­por­tu­nity, seize it and fo­cus your en­ergy on Hong Kong’s de­vel­op­ment”.

He said that there are many chal­lenges for Hong Kong. For ex­am­ple, it has yet to build pub­lic con­sen­sus on some ma­jor po­lit­i­cal and le­gal mat­ters; the Hong Kong econ­omy faces a num­ber of hur­dles; and hous­ing and other is­sues that af­fect the daily lives of the peo­ple have be­come more se­ri­ous.

To ad­dress the chal­lenges, Xi said, “We must stay on the right and steady course, gain a full un­der­stand­ing of the pol­icy of ‘one coun­try, two sys­tems’ and faith­fully im­ple­ment it.”

In his speech, Xi warned against moves to un­der­mine na­tional sovereignty or chal­lenge the cen­tral gov­ern- ment’s power.

“Any at­tempt to en­dan­ger China’s sovereignty and se­cu­rity, chal­lenge the power of the cen­tral govern­ment and the author­ity of the Ba­sic Law of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion or use Hong Kong to carry out in­fil­tra­tion and sab­o­tage ac­tiv­i­ties against the main­land is an act that crosses the red line, and is ab­so­lutely im­per­mis­si­ble,” he said.

Many Hong Kong peo­ple ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the pres­i­dent ’s visit, say­ing they hope the pub­lic will heed the mes­sages the pres­i­dent brought and re­unite to achieve an even brighter fu­ture.

Lau Siu-kai, vice-pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion of Hong Kong and Ma­cao Stud­ies, said he was de­lighted to see Xi reaf­firm­ing the cen­tral govern­ment’s firm stance in im­ple­ment­ing the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple in Hong Kong.

The pres­i­dent’s com­mit­ment to it helps boost peo­ple’s con­fi­dence in Hong Kong’s long-term pros­per­ity and sta­bil­ity, and helps it fo­cus on de­vis­ing strate­gies to push for­ward its own de­vel­op­ment along with the coun­try’s.

Any at­tempt to ... chal­lenge the power of the cen­tral govern­ment ... is an act that crosses the red line.” Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping

Con­fi­dence was a re­cur­ring theme in Xi’s speeches in the city. At an of­fi­cial ban­quet hosted by the Hong Kong govern­ment on the sec­ond day of his visit, Xi called on Hong Kong peo­ple to have con­fi­dence in them­selves, in the HKSAR and in the coun­try.

Chan Yung, chair­man of the New Ter­ri­to­ries As­so­ci­a­tion of So­ci­eties, said the past 20 years were a per­fect demon­stra­tion of the cen­tral govern­ment’s con­tin­u­ous sup­port of the re­gion.

“When Hong Kong faced crises, the cen­tral govern­ment was al­ways there to help,” Chen said, adding that with the strong sup­port, Hong Kong is well-po­si­tioned to be con­fi­dent in pur­su­ing fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

Stan­ley Ng Chau-pei, chair­man of the Hong Kong Fed­er­a­tion of Trade Unions, said that Hong Kong should proac­tively take part in the na­tion’s de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ment of the Guang­dong-Hong Kong-Ma­cao Greater Bay Area, and push­ing for­ward the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

“Pres­i­dent Xi told the peo­ple of Hong Kong that with con­fi­dence and trust the city will surely pros­per,” Ng said.

Chair­man of the Chi­nese Gen­eral Cham­ber of Com­merce Jonathan Choi Koon­shum said Xi’s speeches in­spired Hong Kong to unite and set aside dif­fer­ences, so that it can move away from in­ter­nal rifts and work to main­tain its com­pet­i­tive­ness and build a bet­ter fu­ture us­ing its many strengths and rich tal­ent pool.

The pres­i­dent’s trip was also well re­ceived by local youth. Willy Ho Tsz-ho, 28, who works at a local news me­dia com­pany, said he was glad the pres­i­dent weighed in on the im­por­tance of “seek­ing broad com­mon ground while set­ting aside ma­jor dif­fer­ences” in Hong Kong. The re­marks showed that the pres­i­dent un­der­stands and re­spects the city’s di­ver­sity, Ho said.

He said he hoped that mem­bers of the city’s op­po­si­tion would re­turn the re­spect and com­mu­ni­cate sin­cerely with the HKSAR govern­ment and cen­tral govern­ment au­thor­i­ties.

Luis Liu in Hong Kong contributed to this story.

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