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President Xi draws “red line” for handling mainland-HK relations

HONG KONG, July 1 (DNA — President Xi Jinping Saturday drew the “red line” for handling relations between the mainland and Hong Kong, warning against attempts to undermine national sovereignty or challenge the central government’s power.

“Any attempt to endanger national sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government and the authority of the Basic Law of the HKSAR or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line, and is absolutely impermissible,” he said.

Xi made the remarks at 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).

Hong Kong people enjoy more extensive democratic rights and freedom than at any other time in its history, he said.

“The people of Hong Kong, now masters of their own house, run their local affairs within the purview of autonomy of the HKSAR,” he said.

The president stressed the importance of having a correct understanding of the relationship between “one country” and “two systems.”

The concept of “one country, two systems” was advanced, first and foremost, to realize and uphold national unity, according to Xi.

“In conducting day-to-day affairs, we must be guided by a strong sense of ‘one country,’ firmly observe the principle of ‘one country,’ and thus correctly handle the relationship between the HKSAR and the central government,” he said.

On the other hand, Xi said, the “two systems” should and have every reason to stay in harmony and reinforce each other on the basis of “one country.”

“We must both adhere to the ‘one country’ principle and respect the differences of the ‘two systems,'” he said.

The central government will unswervingly implement the policy of “one country, two systems” and make sure that it is fully applied in Hong Kong without being bent or distorted, he said.

Hong Kong cannot afford to be torn apart by reckless moves or internal rift amid the intense global competition, Xi warned.

Hong Kong is a plural society with “different views and even major differences on some specific issues,” he acknowledged.

However, “making everything political or deliberately creating differences and provoking confrontation will not resolve the problems,” Xi said. “On the contrary, it can only severely hinder Hong Kong’s economic and social development.”

“Hong Kong is an affluent society, but it also faces enormous challenges posed by profound changes in the global economic environment and the increasingly intense international competition,” he said.

“It is imperative to always maintain a harmonious and stable social environment,” he said, noting that “harmony brings good fortune, while discord leads to misfortune.”

The concept of “one country, two systems” gives expression to the vision of peace and harmony in the Chinese culture, and it embodies a very important tenet, namely, seeking broad common ground while setting aside major differences, Xi said.

“On the part of the central government, we are ready to talk to anyone who loves the country, loves Hong Kong and genuinely supports the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, no matter what political views or position he or she may hold.”

Xi urged Hong Kong to always focus on development as the top priority.

“Development, an abiding pursuit, is crucial for Hong Kong’s survival, and it holds the golden key to resolving various issues in Hong Kong,” he said.

The mainland’s continuous and rapid development over the years provides an invaluable opportunity and an inexhaustible source of strengths and broad space for Hong Kong’s development, Xi said.

The central government will continue to support Hong Kong in growing its economy and in leveraging its strengths and role in advancing the Belt and Road Initiative, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Reminbi internationalization and other strategies, Xi said.

“It is important to put people first, help them overcome difficulties, especially address prominent economic and livelihood issues that people are concerned with,” he said.

The central government will continue to support the Chief Executive and the HKSAR government in exercising law-based governance, the president pledged.

“I am convinced that the practice of ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong will write a new chapter,” he said.=DNA

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Xi expresses confidence in new HK chief executive

 

HONG KONG, July 1 (DNA) — President Xi Jinping Saturday expressed confidence in the new chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) leading the Asian financial hub to achieve new development.

In their meeting shortly after Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was sworn in, Xi said he believed Lam can lead the new HKSAR government and all sectors of Hong Kong society to score new achievements in various undertakings.

As Hong Kong marks the 20th anniversary of its return to China, Xi said “great responsibilities and a glorious mission” had fallen on Lam’s shoulders.

“Hong Kong people are placing great hopes in you, and the central government also has high expectations for you,” Xi told Lam.

He urged Lam to earnestly carry out her duties as the chief executive, implement the “one country, two systems” principle in a comprehensive and accurate manner, and safeguard the authority of the country’s Constitution and the HKSAR Basic Law.

Efforts should also be made to further develop Hong Kong’s economy, improve the well-being of its people, and maintain the region’s prosperity and stability, Xi said.

“The central government will give full support to you and the new HKSAR government to administer Hong Kong according to law and break new ground in the great cause of ‘one country, two systems,'” Xi said.

Lam, for her part, said Xi’s Hong Kong trip is a symbol of the central government’s support for the HKSAR, adding that Xi’s speeches will boost confidence in the SAR’s future.

She said she will bring into full play Hong Kong’s advantages during her five-year term, and “do a good job together with the administrative team under the support of the central government.”

After the meeting, Lam accompanied Xi to meet key figures of Hong Kong’s executive, legislative, and judicial bodies.

Calling them the “key few,” a term Xi has used to refer to leading officials at central, provincial/ministerial and local levels, the president said they constitute the “core force” in implementing the “one country, two systems” principle and the HKSAR Basic Law, and in administering Hong Kong.

They must position themselves at the national level when carrying out their work and dealing with problems, in order to conscientiously protect national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and fulfill their duties to the nation.

“One country, two systems” is a great pioneering initiative unprecedented in human history, Xi said.

He called on them to face up to challenges and take initiatives to ensure comprehensive and accurate implementation of the “one country, two systems” principle, resolve conflicts and difficulties involving the economy and people’s well-being which had accumulated over time, and improve youth education on national history and culture.

They should also endeavor to crack down and curb “Hong Kong independence” activities in order to safeguard the overall stability of the Hong Kong society, Xi added.

As a holistic entity, the HKSAR government’s administrative team should fully carry out and improve the executive-led system with the chief executive as its core, Xi noted.

He encouraged the team to properly deal with the relationship between executive and legislative bodies so as to ensure the government’s smooth and effective governance.

Conscientious efforts should be made to uphold unity of the administrative team and the authority of the chief executive, Xi said, calling on the team to jointly safeguard the credit and prestige of the government as a whole.

Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is sworn in as the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region before Chinese President Xi Jinping (R, rear), who oversees the swearing-in ceremony, at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Hong Kong, south China, July 1, 2017.=DNA

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