Photo taken on June 12, 2022 shows Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam at the Government House in Hong Kong, south China. (Xinhua/Jin Liangkuai)
Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said Hong Kong has returned to the right track of "one country, two systems" and its future is very promising.
"Hong Kong today is more stable than ever before. I'm confident that with the staunch support of the central authorities, Hong Kong will have a bright future as it focuses on economic development and leverages its unique advantages," Lam said in an interview with Xinhua.
SUCCESSFUL PRACTICE OF "ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS"
Hailing "one country, two systems" as a great vision and a groundbreaking cause, Lam said that its practice in Hong Kong over the past 25 years has proved successful.
At a meeting celebrating the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland on July 1, 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping expounded on the relationship between "one country" and "two systems".
"'One country' is like the roots of a tree. For a tree to grow tall and luxuriant, its roots must run deep and strong," Xi said.
"I particularly like the metaphor of a tree," Lam said. "Only by taking the 'one country' as the foundation and safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests, can the 'two systems' be brought into full play."
Acknowledging that Hong Kong has gone through great challenges and difficulties over the past five years, Lam said it is now back on the right track.
To boost Hong Kong's development, Lam called for efforts to raise the awareness of national security among Hong Kong residents, better integrate Hong Kong into national development, and promote further development of various sectors, including innovation and technology, and financial services.
SAFEGUARDING NATIONAL SECURITY
Recalling the turmoil in 2019, Lam said that the central government responded decisively by bringing in the national security law in Hong Kong, playing an instrumental role in ending violence and chaos and restoring order in the city.
"It is imperative to develop a sound legal system and enforcement mechanisms for Hong Kong to safeguard national security," Lam said. "Otherwise, not only will the security of Hong Kong be jeopardized, but also the whole country would be at great risk."
The 2019 turmoil enabled people to see that a legislative vacuum pertaining to national security in Hong Kong could lead to infiltration or acts of sabotage against the mainland via Hong Kong by external forces, she added.
"The national security law in Hong Kong has provided a solid foundation for us to move forward," Lam said.
PATRIOTS ADMINISTERING HONG KONG
From September 2021 to May 2022, under the new electoral system, the HKSAR successfully held elections for the Election Committee, the seventh-term Legislative Council (LegCo), and the sixth-term chief executive. An increasing number of capable and patriotic people have entered the governing structure of the HKSAR.
Lam said that the purpose of improving the HKSAR electoral system was to better implement the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong."
"In the past, when it came to the election, I was worried that some unpatriotic people would enter the legislature, thus hindering the administration of the HKSAR government. They might even use this platform to do something against the central authority and undermine the relationship between the central authority and the HKSAR," she said. "Now these concerns are gone."
The implementation of the "patriots administering Hong Kong" principle has provided room for the HKSAR government to achieve more accomplishments, Lam said, adding that future HKSAR officials will be more confident in planning for Hong Kong's future.
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FUTURE
Lam highlighted the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as the most noteworthy accomplishment of the last five years. The commissioning of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, and the Liantang Port/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point has facilitated the formation of a "one-hour living circle" in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
"In order for Hong Kong to have a brighter future, it is imperative to integrate Hong Kong into China's overall development," she emphasized.
Over the past 25 years, cooperation and exchanges between Hong Kong and the mainland have deepened, Lam noted, adding that the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) supports Hong Kong in enhancing its status as an international financial, transportation, trade center and an international aviation hub, as well as in strengthening its roles as a global offshore renminbi business hub, an international asset management center and a risk management center.
The plan also backs Hong Kong in developing itself into an international innovation and technology hub, a center for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, a regional intellectual property trading center, a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world, and in promoting its service industries for high-end and high value-added development, she added.
"Hong Kong has a better foundation in the future, and we should be more confident in doing something innovative to boost Hong Kong's economy and improve the people's livelihood," Lam said.
"I am optimistic about the future of Hong Kong because we have returned to the right track of 'one country, two systems.'"