20 Years On, Hong Kong Pros­pers un­der “One Coun­try, Two Sys­tems”

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Based on news re­ports of Xin­huanet.com

“Devel­op­ment, an abid­ing pur­suit, is cru­cial for Hong Kong’s sur­vival, and it holds the golden key to re­solv­ing var­i­ous is­sues in Hong Kong,” Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said when at­tend­ing a gath­er­ing cel­e­brat­ing the 20th an­niver­sary of Hong Kong’s re­turn to the moth­er­land and the in­au­gu­ral cer­e­mony of the fifth-term govern­ment of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion (HKSAR) at the Hong Kong Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­ter on July 1, 2017.

Two decades ago, the world watched on July 1, 1997 as the Union Jack was low­ered over Hong Kong and the five-star red flag of China raised in its stead. Bri­tish colo­nial rule came to an end and a new dawn broke over Hong Kong, as it was re­turned into the wel­com­ing arms of the moth­er­land.

Since then, the HKSAR has been run un­der the guide­lines of “one coun­try, two sys­tems,” “Hong Kong peo­ple gov­ern­ing Hong Kong” and with a high de­gree of au­ton­omy.

To­day, as the world turns its at­ten­tion to the me­trop­o­lis 20 years on, what does it see? A Hong Kong more dy­namic than ever be­fore, and one thriv­ing un­der “one coun­try, two sys­tems.”

World Bank data show that Hong Kong’s in­di­ca­tor of the rule of law, a core value of Hong Kong so­ci­ety, has jumped from be­hind 60th in the world in 1996 to 11th place in 2015, well ahead of some ma­jor Western coun­tries.

Hong Kong’s econ­omy has grown by an av­er­age of 3.2 per­cent each year since 1997, quite re­mark­able for an econ­omy which was es­sen­tially al­ready “de­vel­oped” 20 years ago.

Among 63 economies, this year’s edition of the In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute for Management Devel­op­ment (IMD) World Com­pet­i­tive­ness Year­book ranked Hong Kong as the most com­pet­i­tive, fol­lowed by Switzer­land, Sin­ga­pore and the United States. It is the sec­ond year in a row that Hong Kong has oc­cu­pied the top spot.

These ac­com­plish­ments have come amid Asian and global fi­nan­cial crises and the SARS out­break—choppy wa­ters in­deed, which Hong Kong has nav­i­gated only with the sup­port of the cen­tral govern­ment.

The last 20 years have fully proven that “one coun­try, two sys­tems” is not only the best so­lu­tion to the his­tor­i­cal Hong Kong ques­tion, but also the best in­sti­tu­tional ar­range­ment for the long-term pros­per­ity and sta­bil­ity of Hong Kong af­ter its re­turn to the moth­er­land.

China is now em­bark­ing on an ar­ray of devel­op­ment ini­tia­tives that the HKSAR could con­trib­ute to and ben­e­fit from, such as the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, the in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion of the ren­minbi, and the build­ing of the Guang­dong-hong KongMa­cao Greater Bay Area city clus­ter.

Hong Kong could dove­tail it­self with the coun­try’s ma­jor na­tional devel­op­ment ini­tia­tives and needs to un­leash its for­mi­da­ble po­ten­tial.

Just as Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor re­marked in a speech af­ter be­ing sworn in as the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the HKSAR, “As we cap­i­tal­ize on our strengths and har­ness the op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented by our coun­try’s devel­op­ment, Hong Kong’s fu­ture is in­deed bright and promis­ing.”

July 1, 2017: Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (left) is sworn in as the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion in front of Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, who over­sees the swear­ing-in cer­e­mony, at the Hong Kong Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­ter in Hong Kong. by Lan Hong­guang/xin­hua

June 30, 2017: Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping (cen­ter, front), also gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC) and chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, steps onto the stage and sings the song “Ode to the Moth­er­land” in cho­rus with per­form­ers and the au­di­ence dur­ing a grand gala cel­e­brat­ing the 20th an­niver­sary of Hong Kong's re­turn to China at the Hong Kong Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­ter in Hong Kong. by Ma Zhancheng/xin­hua

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