Remarks by Ambassador Cui Tiankai At the Reception Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Return of Macao to the Motherland


December 19, 2019

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Good evening. Today, we are gathered here to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Macao's return to China.

Two decades ago, the Chinese government resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Macao. Since then, Macao has opened a new era of "One Country Two Systems", "Macao people governing Macao" and a high degree of autonomy.

Two decades later, Macao is in its prime. This beautiful city nicknamed "land of lotus" is thriving, just like a blooming lotus flower.

- Today's Macao is a booming city with eye-catching economic performance. Over the past 20 years, Macao's growth has been one of the best in the world. Its GDP has increased by over 7.5 times in aggregate terms and almost 4.6 times in per capita terms. Compared to the figures of 1999, the fiscal surplus of the government of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) has soared by 193 times, and its foreign exchange reserve by 6.2 times.

- Today's Macao is a place full of happiness. A better life for the people is always the first and foremost goal of the SAR government, which has been delivering it through persistent efforts at social security, housing, education, medical care, human resources, and disaster prevention and reduction. Unemployment rate has dropped from 6.4% in 1999 to 1.8% now, and the average life expectancy has reached 83.7 years.

- Today's Macao is a hub of open and inclusive cooperation. It has joined 120 international organizations, and has been granted visa-free or visa-upon-arrival treatment by 144 countries or regions. In the name of "Macao, China", it has signed dozens of bilateral trade or investment agreements with other countries or regions.

- Today's Macao is a promising land full of opportunities. It has been designated as one of the four key cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and is leading the development of this major project. Macao is striving to develop into a world center of tourism and leisure industry, and is leveraging its special role in facilitating trade between China and Portuguese-speaking countries and in promoting cultural exchanges between China and the West.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Macao is a great success in the implementation of "One Country Two Systems".

Macao has put China's Constitution and the Basic Law into full and faithful practice. Since 1999, five elections have been held for the Chief Executive, and six for the Legislative Assembly of Macao. The legislature, the executive branch and the judiciary fulfill their duties according to the Basic Law. Under the framework of "One Country Two Systems", proper balance has been stricken between upholding the power of the central government and ensuring the high degree of autonomy of the SAR government.

Macao has found its place in China's governance system and development. In the context of greater reform and opening-up across the country, Macao has seized the opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area development, and made good use of its own sound business environment and well-developed market. Hand in hand, Macao and the mainland are developing together towards a better shared future.

In Macao, national and local pride, inclusiveness, pragmatism and enterprising spirit have been recognized as core values across the whole spectrum of society. They have helped build up a strong popular support for social stability and harmony, for common development and for the implementation of "One Country Two Systems" in Macao.

Facts have proved that Macao's prosperity and stability is grounded on the principle of "One Country" and ensured when the unique strengths of "Two Systems" are brought into full play. I would like to emphasize that "One Country" serves as the precondition for the "Two Systems", which would not have existed without it. A thriving and prosperous China provides a strong backing for Macao, while a stable and flourishing Macao will better serve China's development and contribute to the sovereignty, security and development interests of the whole country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

"One Country Two Systems" is a pioneering undertaking of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It has been recognized at the Fourth Plenum of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China as a prominent strength of China's national system and governance, as it is conducive to the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and Macao and to the peaceful reunification of China. We have full confidence in this policy and will stay committed to it.

Internationally, the success of "One Country Two Systems" has brought about precious opportunities for other countries, including the United States. Hong Kong and Macao host thousands of American companies and tens of thousands of American citizens. The wide international community, including so many Americans, support this policy, and they are all "stakeholders" in the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao.

However, there are forces, some right here in the United States, that have kept meddling in Hong Kong in clear interference in China's internal affairs. They are behind the violent crimes going on in Hong Kong in an attempt to challenge the "One Country" and undermine the "Two Systems". Their scheme is to perpetuate the chaos in Hong Kong, and use it as a geopolitical tool to contain China.

I have to alert them, the Chinese government stands firm on safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and development interests. It stands firm on implementing "One Country Two Systems", and on opposing any foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs. No attempt that goes against the trend of the times or the will of the people will ever prevail.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I believe that you must be impressed by the singing of the students just now. The ballad they sang is called the Song of the Seven Sons. It was written by Wen Yiduo, a patriotic poet of China, in 1925. Back then, Macao was still under foreign occupation, while China, ravaged by war and conflicts itself, could do nothing about it. Filled with a sense of humiliation, the poet gave a genuine expression to his longing for national reunification in the song. Time flies. I'm sure if Wen Yiduo could live on to this day and see today's Macao, he would be overjoyed and would not believe his eyes.

Throughout history, the Chinese people of 56 ethnic groups either on the mainland, or in Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan are nourished by the same culture, and we have the same fortitude and resilience rooted in our shared civilization. Nothing can sever the blood ties of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, and no one can stop the historical journey of the Chinese nation towards rejuvenation.

Here, I wish to propose a toast,

To the successful implementation of "One Country Two Systems",

To the long-term stability and prosperity of Macao and Hong Kong,

To the unity of the Chinese nation, the reunification of the country and the happiness of its people,

To the sound and steady development of China-US relations,

And to the friendship between our two peoples,



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