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Remarks by Ambassador Cheng Jingye Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong's Return to Motherland

Dear Mr. Arthur Au, Director of HK Economic and Trade Office in Sydney,

Distinguished Ambassadors, High Commissioners and guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a great pleasure to have you all here. Tomorrow will be the 1st of July, which marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. Twenty years ago, the Chinese Government resumed exercising sovereignty over Hong Kong, and established the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This historic event symbolizes the realization of a century-old desire shared by all Chinese people, including our fellow Hong Kong compatriots. Since then, Hong Kong compatriots have shared with all other ethnic groups in China the dignity and glory of being Chinese.

In the past twenty years, in order to maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, the Chinese central government has unswervingly committed to the policy of “one country, two systems”, with “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” with a high degree of autonomy, and has acted in strict accordance with the Basic Law, and supported the law-based governance by the Chief Executive and its SAR government. The past two decades have also seen steady growth in Hong Kong's economy, a growing improvement in people’s living standard, a sound atmosphere within the society, and the ongoing rise of its international reputation. Today, Hong Kong, with the benefit of being bordered on mainland China and blessed with the edge of “first to experiment and practice”, is actively integrated with the national 13th Five-Year Plan and “Belt and Road” initiative. It remains the “Oriental Pearl” with endless opportunities in future.

The most fundamental practice and experience on Hong Kong’s long-lasting prosperity and stability is to ensure that the policy of “one country, two systems” remains unchanged and undeformed in Hong Kong. As the biggest strength of Hong Kong, the “One country, two systems” policy serves two inter-connected purposes, namely, maintaining long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, while safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. Under “one country, two systems”, the power the HKSAR exercises is delegated but not separated from the central government. The political system of HKSAR is an executive-led system with the Chief Executive at the core, rather than “separation of powers”.

There is no precedent to follow in pursuing the cause of “one country, two systems”, and new developments and problems will inevitably emerge on our way forward. Hong Kong is now at a crucial stage of economic transformation. Some problems that have built up over the years have surfaced, which is a reality Hong Kong faces at the current stage of economic and social development, and are closely associated with the change of international situation in the context of globalization. Some forces, both domestic and foreign, and exceptional media, have gone out of their way to smear the central government and HKSAR government, and discredit the policy of “one country, two systems” and the Basic Law. They have nothing but ulterior motives.

Chinese President Xi Jingping is currently visiting Hong Kong. As the president pointed out yesterday at the airport upon arrival, Hong Kong has made enormous achievements since it returned to motherland twenty years ago. The Central Government will support as always the development of Hong Kong and the improvement of it’s people’s living standard, thus to secure steady and lasting progress for the cause of “one country, two systems.”

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return, it also marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia. Over the past forty-five years and with joint efforts from both sides, China-Australia relations have gradually got on the track of stable and mature development, which facilitates the development of the relationship between HKSAR and Australia. Hong Kong’s lasting prosperity and stability serve the interest of both China and Australia. China is pleased to see the relationship between HKSAR and Australia grow under “one country, two systems”.

Recently, Australia has decided to launch negotiations with HKSAR on Free Trade Agreement, a move shows the importance Australia attaches to Hong Kong and the confidence it has in Hong Kong’s future. If successfully concluded, the FTA will become a helpful supplement to ChAFTA. With the good momentum of China-Australia relations, we hope Hong Kong will further deepen its exchanges and cooperation with Australia in all relevant areas, and contribute even more to China-Australia relations. We also hope the Australian government and people will continue to support the policy of “one country, two systems”, thus to contribute to Hong Kong’s even better future. As always, the Chinese Embassy in Australia will continue to facilitate economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation between HKSAR and Australia.

Thank you!

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