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Remarks at the Reception Marking of the 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong's Return to China
2017/06/23

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship,

The Honourable Senator Joseph Day and Member of Parliament Tan Geng, co-chairs of CCLA

Distinguished guests,

Friends,

Tonight, we hold a reception here to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China, the motherland.

On July 1, 1997, the Chinese government resumed its exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and established the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Speical Administrative Region (HKSAR) came into force. At this point, Hong Kong put an end to more than 150 years of foreign colonial rule and returned to its motherland, ushering in a new epoch characterized by “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy. This was a great event for China in safeguarding national sovereignty and realizing its reunification.

For the past 20 years, with strong support from the central government and people in the mainland, the "one country, two systems" policy has made great success in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has made remarkable achievements on an unprecedented scale, which has attracted worldwide attention.

Today, Hong Kong sees a steady economic growth with its people enjoying a good life. Guaranteed by the Basic Law, the previous social and economic systems and the way of life in Hong Kong remain unchanged. From 1997 to 2016, Hong Kong's economy has maintained an average annual growth of 3.2 percent, ranking the forefront among the major developed economies. In recent years, Hong Kong has achieved near-full employment and pushed social security to a new high. Hong Kong people live and work in peace and contentment.

Today, Hong Kong’s current political system is running smoothly and the rule of law has been promoted significantly. According to the “one country, two systems” policy, the HKSAR exercises a high degree of autonomy and is authorized with executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. Hong Kong people enjoy various rights and freedom. For the past two decades, the governance of the HKSAR has maintained a high standard with its rule of law ranks in the world rising sharply from the 60th place in 1996 to 11th in 2015, surpassing that of many western powers.

Today, Hong Kong is keeping close contact with the mainland and the world and its international status becomes more prominent. It remains a hub for international finance, trade, and shipping and has been rated as the world's most liberal economy and the most competitive region for many years. At present, Hong Kong serves not only as the largest source of foreign direct investment and the largest overseas financing center for mainland enterprises, but also as an important strategic platform for RMB internationalization and for the promotion of the “Belt and Road” construction.

In the past 20 years, the Chinese central government, in strict accordance with the Constitution and Basic Law, has effectively exercised its all-round governance over Hong Kong, progressively promoted its democratic development, resolutely curbed and combated “Hong Kong independence” forces, safeguarding the social stability in Hong Kong and the authority of the Basic Law. With the strong support from the central government, the HKSAR successfully withstood the Asian financial crisis, SARS, the international financial crisis and other strikes, ensuring the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. The “one country, two systems” policy is well received in Hong Kong.

Dear friends,

The “one country, two systems” practice is a pioneering feat in human history. China resumed its full sovereignty over Hong Kong, and the central government exercises overall jurisdiction over the HKSAR. According to the Basic Law, some powers of the HKSAR are directly exercised by China’s central authorities and some are granted to HKSAR by the National People's Congress, which is, namely, a high degree of autonomy. The power structure between China’s central authorities and HKSAR is “grant” and “being granted”, rather than HKSAR separates power from the central authorities. Under no circumstances should anyone be allowed to challenge the power of the central authorities in the name of “a high degree of autonomy”.

In recent years, some people in Hong Kong have preached the so-called “inherent power” and “independent power” or even “self-determination” and “Hong Kong independence”. What They preached is to refuse to recognize China's resumption of exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and deny the overall jurisdiction the central government has over Hong Kong. Their true purpose is to split Hong Kong from China. Some people, with ulterior motives, have played with “universal suffrage”, “separation of the three powers”, “judicial independence” and other conceptions, and stir up public opinion and challenge the bottom line of the “one country, two systems”. In essence , they are advocating “Hong Kong independence”. Some people have even taken Hong Kong as a base to undermine China's stability. As for these issues, there is no room for the Chinese government to compromise. All these attempts will lead nowhere. We also noticed that some countries from time to time have made carping comments or indiscreet remarks on Hong Kong affairs. This is the interference of China's internal affairs, to which we firmly oppose.

The fate of Hong Kong is closely connected with that of the mainland. I believe that within the framework of the “one country, two systems”, the HKSAR will join hands with the motherland, seize opportunities for greater prosperity and make its due contributions to the Chinese dream of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Let’s wish Hong Kong a brighter future.

Thank you for your attention!

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