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Thursday, May 19, 2016, 02:04

Top legislator hails ‘One Country, Two Systems’

By Luis Liu and Shadow Li
Top legislator hails ‘One Country, Two Systems’

Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, proposes a toast after giving a keynote speech at the welcome banquet hosted by the Hong Kong SAR Government in his honor on Wednesday evening. (Provided to China Daily)

HONG KONG - Zhang Dejiang, the top official overseeing Hong Kong affairs, on Wednesday reassured the public of the central government’s firm stance on upholding the “One Country, Two Systems” principle in the SAR.

He said he hoped Hong Kong people will remain confident of a bright future for the city with the country’s continuous development and support.

Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, made the remarks on Wednesday evening at a welcome dinner attended by hundreds of officials, business leaders and representatives from a wide spectrum of the community.

Hong Kong is approaching its 19th anniversary of reunification with the motherland. During his speech delivered at the dinner on the second day of his three-day inspection tour in Hong Kong, Zhang touched upon a series of issues related to the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and of concern to Hong Kong - namely “localism”, the rule of law and development.

Zhang reaffirmed that the central government will not change this principle, because it is a fundamental State policy and a strategic choice. It is a good, feasible system and has strengthened bonds between people from Hong Kong and the mainland.

Any speculation on changing the “One Country, Two Systems” principle in Hong Kong is entirely groundless, Zhang said.

Zhang called on Hong Kong people to remember the original intention of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, which he said guarantees “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and “a high degree of autonomy”.

Referring to the issue of “localism”, he observed that a small group of people had been advocating for separation of Hong Kong from the nation under the name of “localism”.

Zhang said love for one’s hometown is common and should be respected, but it should not go against love for the country.

The rule of law is the foundation of Hong Kong society and the bottom line of freedom, Zhang pointed out. “If the foundation is shaken, and the bottom line is compromised, how can we maintain Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability?” he asked.

Zhang also expressed confidence in Hong Kong’s future. He said the overall trend of the world’s development is beneficial for Hong Kong. Besides, the mainland’s development has brought about great opportunities for the SAR and these advantages could hardly be replaced.

As long as Hong Kong people can work at their utmost to strive for excellence, seize opportunities by capitalizing on the country’s supportive policies, and identify “what the country needs, and what Hong Kong excels at”, the city will be able to achieve its full potential along with the country’s development, Zhang said.

Before the dinner, Zhang met with 10 lawmakers, including four from the opposition camp, and members of the Executive Council. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, lawmakers and party leaders expressed their optimism that the meeting would bring positive energy to the SAR.

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, chairwoman of the New People’s Party, said she was honored to have the opportunity to express her views to Zhang on Wednesday. Ip said she found the meeting very productive and hoped for more in future.

Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, a lawmaker from the commercial sector, said: “The central government cares about Hong Kong’s economy, which is facing downward pressure amid a drop in mainland visitors. But Hong Kong’s economy can’t survive on its own. It will get better only when the national economy is doing well.”

Calling the meeting a historic one, Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said Zhang is very familiar with Hong Kong affairs. The meeting is a very good start for bringing society together, she added.

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