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CE's speech at National Day reception (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech (English translation) by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, delivered at the National Day reception in celebration of the 66th 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, fellow Hong Kong people,

     Today is the 66th anniversary of the founding of the People'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.

     This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese people's war of resistance against Japanese aggression. During this war, our older generation suffered deeply. We should learn a hard lesson from history. We must always remember the relationship between underdevelopment and vulnerability to attack. A country is the biggest grouping of people in human society.  Only a strong and wealthy country can safeguard the integrity of its territory and sovereignty, maintain national security and uphold the dignity of its people.

     Since the start of the reform and opening up process over three decades ago, our country has set itself on a path of development that best suits its own situation. With sustained and rapid economic growth, the quality of life of its people has improved continuously and its comprehensive strength has been on the rise. China's status and role in global affairs have also drawn increasing attention from the international community.

     Hong Kong has the combined advantages of "one country" and "two systems". As the country gains strength, these advantages will become even more prominent.

     For external relations, the HKSAR is authorised by the Central Government under the Basic Law to maintain and develop relations and conclude and implement agreements with foreign states and regions and relevant international organisations on its own in the appropriate fields, including the economic, trade, financial and monetary, shipping, communications, tourism, cultural and sports fields. We can also participate in international organisations and conferences in these fields. As such, Hong Kong's capability to manage its external affairs and its international status are different from other cities both inside and outside our country.

     The Basic Law also provides that, in addition to the Chinese language, English may also be used as an official language. English is commonly used in both the government and the community. It is the medium of instruction in our universities and many secondary schools. Hong Kong is the society in the world where both Chinese and English are most widely used.

     Hong Kong has always been a highly open city. It is the most international city in our country. Our people, enterprises, schools, professional bodies, youth and women organisations, charitable agencies, and a great many other community organisations have long-standing, close ties and friendly, co-operative relationships with other parts of the world. In the past month, the three Secretaries of Departments and I have separately visited Indonesia, Australia and Europe. We are all impressed by the recognition of the governments as well as industrial and business sectors in these countries on the status and roles of Hong Kong.

     In support of country's strategy, Hong Kong can leverage on our strengths and initiate extensive people-to-people exchanges with other countries to further our relations with them. By doing so, we can set a good example by promoting friendship among the peoples of different countries, and thus help achieve first and foremost the goal of strengthening people-to-people bonds under the "Belt and Road" initiative.

     In terms of the economic and trade ties between our country and the rest of the world, Hong Kong can go global together with Mainland enterprises by acting as their springboard and partner. In the area of global finance, Hong Kong can shoulder part of our country's responsibilities in the operation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank BRICS, the Shanghai Co-operation Organization Bank, the Silk Road Fund, the China-ASEAN Bank and other multilateral financial institutions and funds.

     The Hong Kong SAR Government will set up more economic and trade offices in the Mainland of China and abroad, and will seek to sign free trade agreements, double taxation agreements and investment promotion and protection agreements with more countries to encourage economic and social interactions between Hong Kong and other countries.

     In view of the rapid developments of our country, all people in Hong Kong, especially politicians and young people, need to gain a comprehensive understanding of the country's development from different perspectives, both for the good of the country and for their own careers. As ever, the HKSAR Government is ready to facilitate communication between all sectors of Hong Kong and the Central and local governments in the Mainland, including seeing in person the changes in all aspects across the boundary.

     Hong Kong is part of China. The fate of the people of Hong Kong and China are intertwined. We have stood together through thick and thin. At different stages of national development, Hong Kong has always been able to play its part, making contributions to the country while improving the lives of local people. We should not underestimate ourselves. We have the conditions and capability to continue to leverage our strengths in the new situation and work together with all the people of China for the progress of the country and of Hong Kong.

     Our country's development presents a host of opportunities for us.  Various sectors in Hong Kong, including the industrial, business, financial, professional and tourism sectors, are closely linked with the Mainland. The last financial year saw record highs in Hong Kong's profits and salaries tax revenues, as well as employment. So, the HKSAR Government has the financial means to take forward its work on poverty alleviation, elderly care, support for the disadvantaged and infrastructure. The economy forms the basis for social stability and people's livelihood. The HKSAR Government will continue to focus its efforts on boosting economic development and improving people's livelihood.

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, October 1, 2015
Issued at HKT 09:07


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