Let history illuminate the future of Hong Kong
-- Chinese New Year Speech 2022
(January 26, 2022)
Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Good afternoon, friends and Hong Kong residents.
As we draw closer to the Year of the Tiger, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you and the people of Hong Kong a happy Lunar New Year, and I do so on behalf of my colleagues at the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Last year marked the convergence of China's two centenary goals. In a world that underwent major changes unseen in a century and the COVID-19 pandemic, the impressive performance of China constituted a stark contrast to the disorder of the West. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and through relentless efforts, the Chinese people have achieved the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and are marching with confidence toward the second centenary goal of building a strong modern socialist country. A resilient and thriving China has embarked on an irreversible historical course of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Last year also marked a new chapter for the practice of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong. The city has taken on a brand new look following the further implementation of the National Security Law, the improvement to the electoral system, the successful completion of two major elections and the effectuation of the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”. Still fresh in my memory are the festivities at Victoria Harbor in celebration of the centenary of the Communist Party of China; the campaigns of candidates contesting the Election Committee and Legislative Council elections by competing on manifestos, setting up street stalls and visiting the electorates; and the daily on-campus ceremonies for school children to salute the national flag. I also remember visiting fishing boats, subdivided flats, shop owners and neighborhood folks, in the company of my colleagues at the Liaison Office, which gave me first hand understanding of local residents’ satisfaction at the return of peace and stability, and their longing for better lives. We are confident that as Hong Kong has turned a new page after restoring order from chaos, any attempts by anti-China forces and local saboteurs to disrupt Hong Kong are doomed to fail.
Friends and Hong Kong residents!
As was noted by President Xi Jinping, history is a mirror that sheds light on both the present and the future. Now that the practice of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong is at a new historical starting point, we need to draw wisdom and strength from history, so as to find answers to major issues that concern different sectors and the people of Hong Kong.
To people who sought my views on the practice of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong, my answer is that the extraordinary journey travelled by Hong Kong since its return to the motherland suffices to justify our historical confidence in "one country, two systems." President Xi has pointed out on multiple occasions that the principle of "one country, two systems" is fully applicable, achievable, and popular. Last month, he reiterated that the central authorities will continue to unswervingly implement the policy of "one country, two systems". Over the past 25 years, Hong Kong has encountered a multitude of challenges, including the onslaught of major epidemics and economic crises, the noxious politics of “black terror” and "mutual destruction", and the persistent attempts by some people to misdirect the course of democratic development and to destabilize Hong Kong. However, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China and with the firm support of the mainland, Hong Kong has surmounted those challenges and held its ground. “The Pearl of the Orient” has reemerged with renewed luster and glamour. As we reflect on the journey travelled thus far, we see that the naysayers and saboteurs of the "one country, two systems" principle have invariably ended up being disappointed and against the will of the people. All facts point to the conclusion that the principle of "one country, two systems", which was created, developed and championed by the Communist Party of China, is a sound arrangement; the strategy to align Hong Kong’s development with that of the nation is sensible; and Hong Kong compatriots, as masters of their own house, are capable.
To people who sought my views on the development prospects of Hong Kong, my answer is that Hong Kong has a promising future, and the key lies in Hong Kong acquiring the historical consciousness to resolutely integrate into the overall development of the country. In the face of challenges, Hong Kong either flourishes or declines. But it is evident that many of Hong Kong's unique advantages and competitiveness remain intact. Despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong's economy stays on an upward trajectory and a frontrunner in global competitiveness. More important still is that the world looks to China for opportunities, and opportunities abound on the mainland for Hong Kong. Upon entering the new era, the central authorities have attached even greater importance to the unique advantages and roles of Hong Kong, which has been incorporated into a slew of national strategic plans, and is thus having a growing number of platforms for its integration into the overall development of the country. A city that wallows in self-pity due to diminished roles and drags its feet will miss out on the opportunities ahead. China’s march toward the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is inexorable, and the world is forging ahead. As long as Hong Kong excels in leveraging its strengths to serve the country’s needs, it is sure to assume greater responsibilities amid the major changes unseen in a century, and to make greater contributions on China's new journey toward building a great modern country.
To people who sought my views on Hong Kong’s capability to achieve good governance, my answer is that Hong Kong, despite having more favorable conditions and opportunities than ever before, would still need to take the historical initiative to build on the momentum and pursue steady progress. Since last year, many people have witnessed the fascinating changes in Hong Kong, and the road forward has become broader. Full of enthusiasm, people are looking forward to a new chapter of sound governance, which accords with the logic of historical development. But to achieve good governance, some of the corresponding systems and mechanisms will have to be established and improved, while many deep-seated contradictions and problems will need to be resolved. It is also worth noting that while Hong Kong craves lasting peace and stability, there always will be hostile forces that refuse to accept defeat. Acts of complacency or dodging responsibility will only stifle the spirit to fight and the courage to reform. It is even more critical that achieving good governance depends not only on the initiative of the HKSAR's governing team, but also on the collective efforts of the community. It is imperative now to fight the pandemic and weather the trying times with concerted efforts. I have confidence that as long as we pull together to overcome difficulties, a promising future will surely be in store for Hong Kong and its people.
Friends and Hong Kong residents!
When delivering his 2022 New Year Address, President Xi noted that “the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao is always close to the heart of the motherland. Only with unity and concerted efforts can we ensure sound implementation of 'one country, two systems' in the long run". Sharing the Lion Rock with Hong Kong compatriots, those of us at the Liaison Office are duty bound to work in concerted efforts with the local community. In the Year of the Tiger, we will fulfill our duties to the best of what we can, as well as continue to promote the implementation of the Central Government’s comprehensive jurisdiction, firmly support the law-based governance of the HKSAR government, attentively listen to the voices of local residents, serve as a bridge between Hong Kong and the mainland, and team up with Hong Kong compatriots in building a better future for our common home!
I wish you all good health, success and strength in the Year of the Tiger! Thank you!