CE's speech at National Day reception (with photos/video)
Distinguished guests, fellow Hong Kong people,
Today is the 67th 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.
Over the past year, the country has upheld the development principles of innovation, co-ordination, green development, opening up and sharing. It has made encouraging progress and achievements on all fronts, from economy, finance, society, people's livelihood, technology and infrastructure to culture, sports and other areas. The country is also playing an increasingly important role in international affairs.
As a member of the Chinese people, we take pride and glory in the country's developments and advancements, as we have made unique and indispensable contributions.
Hong Kong is part of the country. The relationship between Hong Kong and the Mainland is, in essence, mutually beneficial, reciprocal, mutually rewarding and mutually inclusive. During the Mainland's reform and opening up in the past 30 years or so, various sectors of the Hong Kong community have actively participated in national development. While contributing to the country's development, we have also benefited from the opportunities brought about by the Mainland's rapid growth. As a result of years of hard work, Hong Kong people now own and run businesses all over the Mainland, ranging from primary to secondary and tertiary industries, and building up a large economy outside Hong Kong. As many as 300 000 Hong Kong people work or do business in the Mainland. Taking full advantage of the opportunities, many Hong Kong wage earners have become business owners, and many small local companies have grown into large national enterprises. We are proud of the achievements of the Hong Kong people.
Hong Kong enjoys dual advantages under the "one country, two systems" principle. Compared with overseas competitors, we have the "one country" advantage, as we can benefit from the vast territory and the rapid economic and social development of China, as well as the country's steadfast support for Hong Kong's development. Take the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) as an example. Following the signing of CEPA in 2003, 10 Supplements and two subsidiary agreements were signed, enabling Hong Kong to enjoy the enormous benefits of CEPA's liberalisation measures. A notable example is the services industry. Currently, the Mainland has fully or partially opened up 153 sectors to Hong Kong. That accounts for more than 95 per cent of all the services trade sectors. This is the "one country" advantage.
Under "two systems", Hong Kong is the most international and most open city in China. In accordance with the Basic Law, Hong Kong safeguards the free flow of capital within, into and out of the Region, maintains the status as a free port, and has the authority to conduct external economic and other affairs. As a result, Hong Kong can serve as the "super-connector" between the Mainland of China and the rest of the world. We can attract foreign investment, technology and talent, while at the same time "go global" hand in hand with Mainland enterprises. These are the unique advantages of Hong Kong under "one country, two systems".
Beyond economic relations, the ties between Hong Kong and Mainland people have become closer and stronger. In 2013, more than 21 000 marriages registered in Hong Kong were Hong Kong-Mainland marriages, accounting for 38 per cent of the total number of marriages registered in Hong Kong. Last year, more than 224 000 Hong Kong permanent presidents between 15 and 64 years of age lived in Guangdong Province half the time. Over 15 000 Hong Kong students studied in the Mainland's higher education institutions and graduate schools.
The HKSAR Government has always encouraged young people to learn more about the country, including joining Mainland exchange and internship programmes. We also support our young people in participating in volunteer services in remote regions of the Mainland. By building hospitals and schools, repairing bridges and roads, joining child sponsorship programmes and supporting disaster relief in the Mainland, Hong Kong people have, through these numerous good deeds, shown earnest support to Mainland compatriots in need. These touching stories also reflect the deep kinship between Hong Kong and Mainland people.
All the above illustrate that "one country, two systems" is the most beneficial and most practical arrangement for Hong Kong people. It is necessary for everyone in the community to safeguard "one country" and "two systems".
Distinguished guests and fellow Hong Kong people, the country has made great strides over the years. Under the National 13th Five-Year Plan and the Belt and Road Initiative, there is no shortage of opportunities for Hong Kong. As long as we seize these opportunities, we, together with all people in the country, can surely build a better future for the country and Hong Kong, and achieve greater success in personal career development.
Ends/Saturday, October 1, 2016
Issued at HKT 9:08
Issued at HKT 9:08