July 1, 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China. President Xi Jinping visited Hong Kong from June 29 to July 1 to attend celebrations marking the anniversary and the inauguration of the fifth-term government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). During the visit, President Xi had extensive and in-depth communication with local people from all walks of life.
The significance of the visit is self-evident—declaring to Hong Kong and the international community the Central Government's policies and strategies on governing Hong Kong and demonstrating the Central Government's determination to persist with the "one country, two systems" policy.
In the past 20 years, Hong Kong has maintained economic prosperity and social stability, with great steps forward in various causes. According to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2017 issued by the Lausanne-based International Institute for Management Development, Hong Kong was voted as the world's most competitive economy for two consecutive years since 2016. The "one country, two systems" policy has achieved widely recognized success.
However, the policy has also encountered some new problems, such as calls for "Hong Kong independence." Some of the problems were unavoidable during the historical transition, some erupted during the implementation and operation of a new governing system, and some resulted from long-existing internal conflicts in Hong Kong and the changing external environment. These problems, if not properly tackled, will affect Hong Kong's economic and social progress.
Xi expounded on the relationship between "one country" and "two systems" during his visit, stressing that "one country" is like the roots of a tree, and for a tree to grow tall and luxuriant, its roots must run deep and strong. Any attempt to endanger China's sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the Central Government and the authority of the Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR, or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line and absolutely impermissible. The three bottom lines are crucial for safeguarding national sovereignty and ensuring Hong Kong's security, stability, development and prosperity.
The Central Government will support Hong Kong's economic and social development, hoping the SAR government focuses on development. It is important to put people first, help them overcome difficulties, address the prominent economic and livelihood issues that concern them, and increase their sense of contentment and happiness.
President Xi's remarks provide guidance for Hong Kong's development and also the stable and long-term practice of the "one country, two systems" policy.
Looking into both the past and the future, Hong Kong must always stick to the "one country, two systems" principle to ensure its long-term prosperity and stability.