Pres­i­dent Xi do­nates best birth­day gift to Hong Kong

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping vis­ited the city to cel­e­brate the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion’s 20 th an­niver­sary of es­tab­lish­ment. Dur­ing the three-day trip, he wit­nessed the sign­ing of agree­ments to es­tab­lish the Hong Kong Palace Mu­seum and deepen co­op­er­a­tion on Greater Bay Area de­vel­op­ment. Some peo­ple said the gift brought by Xi this time was un­sur­pris­ing; they there­fore worry this might im­ply di­min­ish­ing im­por­tance of Hong Kong in the eyes of the cen­tral govern­ment.

These com­ments are not accurate as they over­look the key mes­sage de­liv­ered by Xi dur­ing the visit. The pres­i­dent said: “It has been 20 years since Hong Kong’s re­turn to the moth­er­land. Ac­cord­ing to China’s tra­di­tion, a man en­ters adult­hood at the age of 20.” To a child, “gifts” mean prac­ti­cal and ma­te­ri­al­is­tic sup­port but to a man who is en­ter­ing another new stage, what he needs most is wis­dom to foster fu­ture de­vel­op­ment. Thus, what Xi spoke from his mouth is more im­por­tant than what he brought in his hands.

Firstly, Xi fully en­dorsed the SAR govern­ment’s work in the past five years. As we all have re­al­ized, it was not an easy pe­riod for the SAR govern­ment. Po­lit­i­cal conflicts, ac­cu­mu­lated so­cial prob­lems, chal­leng­ing eco­nomic re­struc­tur­ing is­sues were all tough tasks to cope with. Fac­ing these chal­lenges, the govern­ment would be sat­is­fied to main­tain eco­nomic and so­cial sta­bil­ity. Against in­de­pen­dence ad­vo­cacy, the Hong Kong govern­ment has boldly re­acted with­out hes­i­ta­tion and de­liv­ered a clear mes­sage to so­ci­ety that there would be no room for “Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence”.

That’s why Xi told for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive Le­ung Chun-ying: “These five years have not been easy for you. You have paid much ef­fort in im­ple­ment­ing ‘one coun­try, two sys­tems’ and the Hong Kong Ba­sic Law.” This recog­ni­tion of past ef­fort is a great en­cour­age­ment to not only Le­ung, but also those who had con­trib­uted to Hong Kong’s sta­bil­ity and na­tional unity.

Se­condly, Xi em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of up­hold­ing na­tional unity in prac­tic­ing “one coun­try, two sys­tems” and is­sued a strong warn­ing against sep­a­ratism. How to fully and ac­cu­rately prac­tice “one coun­try, two sys­tems” is an im­por­tant topic for Hong Kong in the past few years as well as in the fu­ture. In the past, Hong Kong peo­ple fo­cused much more on the prac­tice of “two sys­tems” with em­pha­sis on the au­ton­omy of Hong Kong’s sys­tem. Xi stressed that Hong Kong peo­ple would need to be guided by a “strong sense of one coun­try” and clearly set a bot­tom line of “one coun­try”.

In his words, any at­tempt to en­dan­ger China’s sovereignty and se­cu­rity, chal­lenge the power of the cen­tral govern­ment or use The au­thor is re­search of­fi­cer of the One Coun­try Two Sys­tems Re­search In­sti­tute.

Na­tional and Hong Kong SAR flags hang in bril­liant sun­shine out­side a shop­ping cen­ter in Tsim Sha Tsui to cel­e­brate the 20th an­niver­sary of Hong Kong’s re­turn to the moth­er­land. A Chi­nese id­iom says: “Lis­ten­ing to the words of a wise man can be su­pe­rior to study­ing 10 years of books”. The gift brought by Xi, em­bed­ded in his key­note speech, is the key to the suc­cess of ‘one coun­try, two sys­tems’ in the fu­ture.

Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sab­o­tage ac­tiv­i­ties against the main­land is an act that crosses the “red line”, and is “ab­so­lutely im­per­mis­si­ble”. This key mes­sage will be a foun­da­tion of the de­vel­op­ment of “one coun­try, two sys­tems” in fu­ture, and ef­fec­tive prac­tice is nec­es­sary to stop any sep­a­ratist ac­tiv­i­ties in the fu­ture.

Last but not least, Xi’s speech on July 1 in­ten­tion­ally men­tioned the his­tory of Hong Kong and pointed out that the destiny of the city has al­ways been tied with that of the moth­er­land. He also said that Hong Kong’s re­turn to the moth­er­land has gone down as a mon­u­men­tal achieve­ment in the his­tory of the Chi­nese na­tion. This mes­sage gave con­fi­dence to Hong Kong peo­ple, es­pe­cially those wor­ried about Hong Kong’s fu­ture.

In fact, the cen­tral govern­ment has al­ways given Hong Kong strong back­ing for 20 years. Fa­vor­able poli­cies and de­vel­op­ment plat­forms, such as CEPA, stock con­nects and planned Greater Bay Area were de­liv­ered to Hong Kong at the right time, not kept back un­til the an­niver­sary. How­ever, the ef­fec­tive­ness of seiz­ing these op­por­tu­ni­ties is highly de­pen­dent on the un­der­stand­ing of “one coun­try, two sys­tems”, es­pe­cially on the im­por­tance of the na­tional unity and in­ter­est to Hong Kong.

A Chi­nese id­iom says: “Lis­ten­ing to the words of a wise man can be su­pe­rior to study­ing 10 years of books”. The gift brought by Xi, em­bed­ded in his key­note speech, is the key to the suc­cess of “one coun­try, two sys­tems” in the fu­ture.

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