Following is the speech (English translation) by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, delivered at the National Day reception in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this morning (October 1):
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, fellow Hong Kong people,
Today is the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Peopleˇ¦s Republic of China. On behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), I welcome all of you to this reception.
In the past year, our country has continued to make encouraging progress and achievements in various areas. In Hong Kong, people from all walks of life have continued to work hard for the country, for Hong Kong and for themselves.
To sustain our development, Hong Kong must capitalise on the combined advantages of "One Country" and "Two Systems" at the same time. Under "One Country", we enjoy the advantage of having the country as our hinterland. We have the staunch support of the country for our development, while the huge Mainland market presents us with numerous career opportunities. Under "Two Systems", we enjoy the advantage of having a set of systems different from that of the Mainland, especially our legal and financial systems. As overseas businesses and professionals are more familiar with Hong Kong's legal system and commercial practices, many foreign enterprises choose to set up their businesses here. Besides economic development, the combined advantages of "One Country" and "Two Systems" also come into play in areas such as culture, arts, education and scientific research.
"One Country, Two System" also fully applies to Hong Kong's constitutional development. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has adopted a decision on issues relating to the selection of the Chief Executive (CE) by universal suffrage, confirming that the CE can be elected through "one person, one vote" from 2017 onward. It is understandable that different people may have different ideas about a desirable reform package. But it is definitely better to have universal suffrage than not. It is definitely better to have the CE elected by five million eligible voters than by 1 200 people. And it is definitely better to cast your vote at the polling station than to stay home and watch on television the 1 200 members of the Election Committee cast their votes.
We hope that all sectors of the community will work with the Government in a peaceful, lawful, rational and pragmatic manner to duly complete the subsequent consultation and legislative work, and make a big step forward in our constitutional development.
Distinguished guests and fellow Hong Kong people, Hong Kong and the Mainland are closely linked in their development. We must work hand in hand to make the Chinese dream come true. Let me quote a passage from the Conclusion of the White Paper on "The Practice of the 'One Country, Two Systems' Policy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" to illustrate this point: "Continuously enriching and developing the practice of 'one country, two systems' in the HKSAR and maintaining long-term prosperity and stability in the region are an integral part of the Chinese dream. It is also a necessary requirement for improving and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics and promoting the modernisation of the national governance system and governing capability."
As part of the country, Hong Kong should not only strive for its own development but also make joint efforts with all people of China to contribute to the progress of our country. Together, let's write a new chapter of prosperity and development for the Chinese nation.
Ends/Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Issued at HKT 08:53