China, SA celebrate Hong Kong’s success
SATURDAY marks 20 years since Hong Kong was handed back to China by Britain – a milestone the Chinese are honoured by.
“Over the past 20 years, Hong Kong has made solid progress in its democratic development. Today, the people of Hong Kong enjoy unprecedented democratic rights and greater freedom than ever before in their history,” Li Song, Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa said yesterday.
Li was speaking at a reception hosted by the embassy in the capital city which celebrated the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland.
He pointed out that over the last two decades the region has overcome many challenges including the 1997 Asian financial crisis as well as the 2008 recession crisis but said despite this, the region has become an influential member of the international community.
He also added that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s return to its motherland and the implementation of the “one country, two systems” would have been impossible without the support of South Africa and other foreign countries.
“In June 1997, China and South Africa reached an agreement on a joint communique, establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. In a space of 20 years, the relations between South Africa and China have achieved a triple jump from partnership to strategic partnership, and later a comprehensive partnership, which is underpinned by three major pillars which are strategic mutual trust, economic and trade cooperation and the people-to-people exchange,” he said.
Li said in a few weeks the embassy would have a new ambassador who is highly fond of Africa and its people, and has deep knowledge of the continent’s affairs.
In December 2015, President Jacob Zuma co-chaired the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Joburg, solidifying relations between the two countries.
Public Service and Administration Minister, Faith Muthambi, who joined Li in the celebrations at the embassy said: “The success of Hong Kong and Mainland China has undoubtedly proven that the “One Country, two systems” works. Many in other parts of the world were cynical about perceived different models of development, different systems and ideological orientation.”
Muthambi highlighted that the co-operation between South Africa and China on critical issues such as the reform of multilateral institutions, financial governance, the global economy, and climate change remain paramount adding that the two countries needed to work collaboratively towards a common goal of achieving development and eradicating poverty.
Abroad, Xi Jinping arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday to mark the 20-year anniversary and is expected to honour the region on its achievements throughout the years.
Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi with Li Song, Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa.