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HK's return 20 years later breaks the prophecy that sings the blues over its development

People's Daily Online | Updated: 2017-06-27 09:01

Hong Kong’s development in the 20 years since its return to China has broken the prophecy that sings the blue over the region’s prosperity, said People’s Daily on June 25.

Time and facts have proven China’s unique contribution to mankind’s political development. As an important reflection of modernized national governance system, the policy of “one country, two systems” has achieved a success recognized by the whole world.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the core has made new achievements on work related to Hong Kong.

“One country, two systems” has become an important area for China’s Central Government in terms of national governance. And the country has supported Hong Kong at every moment the latter needed assistance.

Hong Kong experienced the Asian financial crisis and its peripheral economy decreased shortly after its return to China. Under such background, the Chinese government immediately declared that it would support and protect the linked exchange rate system in Hong Kong at all costs.

In 2003, when the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndromes (SARS) hit both mainland China and Hong Kong, the central government spared no efforts and provided free medicine and protective medical equipment for the special administrative region.

In addition, the Central Government has made timely intervention whenever misunderstandings of and disputes over the region’s Basic Law occurs. So far, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee has made five interpretations on the Basic Law and four decisions on major issues related to Kong Kong’s long-term prosperity.

By doing so, the Central Government has effectively cleared up doubts, promoting the improvement of Hong Kong’s rule of law.

Over the past two decades, local features of Hong Kong have been well preserved. Meanwhile, infrastructure of the region has seen a great improvement.

A total of nine rail lines have been opened since 1997 and seven more are currently under planning. The rail network will cover three quarters of the residential areas when completed.

According to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2017 Results issued by International Institute for Management Development on June 1, Hong Kong has been recognized as the world’s most competitive economy for two consecutive years.

In addition, Hong Kong was also the second largest economy in terms of direct foreign investment after the U.S., attracting $175 billion from overseas, said the World Investment Report 2016 issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

“The stock market of Hong Kong stood at 3.2 trillion HKD in 1997,” said Chan Mo-po, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Mainland China’s reform and opening up has created huge opportunities for the development of Hong Kong’s financial sector, and it was China’s development that contributed to the region’s status of international financial center, the secretary added.

Since the return of Hong Kong, the region has enjoyed a high degree of autonomy. Under the support of the Central Government, Hong Kong and its public have gained abundant experiences which substantially improved its ability of governance and management.

A World Bank report issued in 2015 suggested a sharp increase in Hong Kong’s stability, government efficiency, and rule of law after its return. The region ranked 11 in terms of rule of law among more than 200 countries and regions, up from 60 in 1996.

“Hong Kong has witnessed an unprecedented degree of democracy during the past two decades,” said Starry Li, chairperson of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. The region has held at least five major elections during each 5-year election cycle. In 2016, a total of 2.2 million people voted in the Legislative Council election, with a voter turnout rate of 58%, setting a historical high since 1997.

The past 20 years have fully proved that “one country, two systems” is the best policy to meet national interests and accord with Hong Kong’s conditions.

The policy of “one country, two systems” must not be changed or shaken, and its thorough implementation must be carried out. Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that to push the policy forward, the government must grasp the essence of it, protect national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and maintain long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and Macao.

Xi said that the premise for rule of law of Hong Kong is to govern the region in accordance with the constitution and the Basic Law. Therefore, the rule of law of Hong Kong must be maintained, and the authority of the Basic Law as well as the Central Government must be protected.

To summarize the past experiences is to embrace a brighter future, and to stay true to the original intention is to guarantee long-term stability. Let us propose a toast to the prosperity and a glorious future of Hong Kong.

-People's Daily Online


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