Overseas experts and scholars have lauded Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China, highlighting the concept of "One Country, Two Systems" as a guarantee for Hong Kong's bright future. [Special coverage]
In the speech delivered at a meeting in Hong Kong on Saturday celebrating the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the fifth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Xi reviewed the success and inspiration the "One Country, Two Systems" concept has brought, while envisioning a brighter prospect for Hong Kong with proposals to further and fully apply the concept.
Xi said the concept "offers a new way of thinking and a new formula to the international community in addressing similar issues. It is another contribution made by the Chinese nation to promoting global peace and development. And it embodies the Chinese vision which values openness and inclusiveness."
"What has happened in Hong Kong fully demonstrates that the concept of 'One Country, Two Systems' provides the best solution to the historical question of Hong Kong and the best institutional arrangement to ensure Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability after its return," Xi noted.
In response, experts and scholars from around the world echoed Xi's statements, hailing the application of the unprecedented concept as a success recognized by all.
Bambang Suryono, an Indonesian scholar and president of the Jakarta-based think tank Nanyang ASEAN Foundation, said Xi's speech is of great strategic significance to Hong Kong with reaffirmation of the concept's crucial role.
"Xi's remarks determine the guidelines for Hong Kong's future development," he said.
Mauricio Santoro, a professor of international relations at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, said Hong Kong has gained more advantages after its return to China due to support from the Central Government, and that successful practice makes the policy of "One Country, Two Systems" "an example that other countries can follow."
Assuring a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong, "the concept of 'One country, Two systems' can serve as a model solution for historical issues," Italian geopolitics expert Fabrizio Franciosi said.
In his opinion, Alexander Ershov, research fellow at the Far East Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences, thinks the policy has been "hugely effective," which "ensures smooth institutional alignment and autonomy for Hong Kong of a higher degree than before its return."
He also said Hong Kong has greatly benefited from its return to China, because the rapid economic growth in China "enables its access to more financing channels and human resources, which leads to its development in a size incomparable for its past."
Ershov believes that with its high level of autonomy in addition to favorable environment for development, Hong Kong can accomplish win-win cooperation with the mainland.
Fengxiang Qiao, professor at the Texas Southern University, thinks the guidelines of "One Country, Two Systems" and "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" "provide a favorable and huge platform for Hong Kong."
"Thanks to the strong backing of the mainland, Hong Kong has seen since its return political stability, improved well-being," and full protection of the interests of Hong Kong people, he said.
Qiao said Hong Kong should continue the institutional arrangement of "One Country, Two Systems", and take good advantage of the rapid growth in the mainland, to make itself an active part of China's economic success.
In the Saturday speech, Xi also expressed the belief that the practice of "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong will write a new chapter and create new splendor.
"Hong Kong has the strong backing of the great motherland and the strong support of the Central Government and the people of the mainland. Hong Kong has gained a wealth of experience over the past 20 years since its return; it has a solid foundation for achieving further development, and it enjoys the concerted dedication of the HKSAR government and people in all the sectors," he said.
Nadiya Helmy, professor of political sciences at the Beni Suef University of Egypt, stresses continued commitment to the guideline of "One country, Two systems" as a guarantee for improving Hong Kong people's well-being.
Hong Kong's present and future are shaped by it, said Helmy, who also voiced the belief that Hong Kong people is insightful enough to make right choices.
The concept of "One Country, Two Systems" renders unprecedented development opportunities to Hong Kong, for which growth remains a top priority, said Keith Bennett, vice chairman of Britain's 48 Group Club, an independent business network committed to promoting relations between Britain and China.
The mainland's huge market serves as a guarantee for Hong Kong's growth and prosperity, he added.