China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang said in Hong Kong that the practice of the "one country, two systems" principle in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) should not deviate from its original intention.
Zhang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, made the remarks while attending a welcome dinner.
In his speech, Zhang touched upon a series of issues related to the "one country, two systems" principle that concern the Hong Kong society, the rule of law and development.
On the issue of "localism," Zhang said love for one's hometown is common and should be respected. "We should respect the fact that Hong Kong people cherish their own way of life and values," he said.
One of the major contents concerning the principle of "one country, two systems" is to keep Hong Kong's existing social and economic systems as well as the way of life here, Zhang said, noting that "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" with a high degree of autonomy takes "local" reality into full consideration.
The top legislator pointed out that a very few people now refuse to accept "one country," resist the Central Government and even advocate "Hong Kong independence," stressing that what they do is not about "localism," but aims at "separation."
Zhang said he believes Hong Kong people have their own judgment on "whether or not such acts go against the original intention of 'one country, two systems' and whether or not they will bring good fortune to Hong Kong."
Zhang stressed that the rule of law is not only the core value of Hong Kong society, the cornerstone for Hong Kong's stability, but also the bottom line for freedom.
"How do we maintain prosperity and stability if the cornerstone is shaken and the bottom line breached?" Zhang asked.
All people are equal before law and no one is above it; anyone breaking the law should be held accountable, he said.
"I hope the SAR Government and the judiciary authorities can earnestly perform their sacred duty of maintaining the rule of law, strictly enforce the law and impartially administer justice," he said, adding "illegal activities should never be tolerated or connived. All sectors of the society should severely condemn those violent behaviors which break the bottom line of law."
With regard to Hong Kong's development, the top legislator said Hong Kong's international status is determined by its economic position, and Hong Kong people's well-being cannot be assured without development.
"The Hong Kong society must have a sense of urgency, as a boat sailing against the current can only forge ahead, or it will be driven back," he said, adding that attention should be focused on further developing the economy, improving people's livelihood and enhancing Hong Kong's competitiveness.
"Do not forget your original aspiration so as to achieve your goal," Zhang said, noting that when Deng Xiaoping put forward the principle of "one country, two systems," he intended to resolve the Hong Kong issue left over from history while taking into consideration Hong Kong's reality, retaining its characteristics and advantages to the greatest extent and keeping its long-term prosperity and stability.
The report of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China outlined the basic principles of policies adopted by the Central Government concerning Hong Kong and Macao, which is to safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of the two regions, Zhang noted.
That comes down in a continuous line with Deng's proposal and reflects the insistence on the original intention of the "one country, two systems" principle, Zhang said.
"Whenever we talk about Hong Kong and the 'one country, two systems' principle, we should never forget our original intention, or deviate from it," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 18, 2016)