CE's speech at National Day reception (with photos/video)
Distinguished guests, fellow Hong Kong people,
Today, I am very honoured to attend the National Day reception held by the HKSAR Government in my capacity as the Chief Executive for the first time, in celebration of the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in your company. With a wide variety of celebration activities to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland as well as the beginning of the fifth-term Government, the festival spirit on the National Day is especially prominent.
During the past twenty years, leveraging its position as a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong has witnessed, participated in and benefitted from the continuous reform and opening up of our country. Through business, investment, employment, studies and exchanges in various areas, Hong Kong people have acquired a better understanding of our country and fostered deep emotional bonds with the people in the Mainland. As reflected in the theme of the publicity video broadcast in the Mainland on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, people of the two places join hands in serving our country and engaging the world, and together we seize opportunities to go from strength to strength. We shall show this video again here later on.
From a personal perspective, my knowledge of and concern about our country's development can be traced back to the "Knowing China and Caring about Society" activities that I participated in during my university days. I joined several study tours to the Mainland organised by the then China Study Society. In 1979, as the deputy leader of an exchange tour organised by the student union, I went on a two-week study and exchange trip to Tsinghua University with dozens of students from different faculties of The University of Hong Kong. During the trip, I met my long-time favourite writer Bingxin in the Minzu College and called on Professor Qian Weichang, a well-known physicist. I was deeply moved by their lofty patriotic conviction. I could feel the Mainland students' friendliness and warmth towards the students from Hong Kong. We climbed the Great Wall together. We enjoyed dumplings at students' home. Despite meagre resources (for example, hot water supply was available for only limited durations in deep winter at the Tsinghua University student hostels) the strong feelings that "we are all Chinese" were pervasive and remain vivid to me. As the experience has left indelible mark in my life, I recounted this trip and included a photo of my first visit to Tiananmen Square in Beijing in a book I published during my election campaign about my personal development.
Today, China's capital Beijing is a prosperous city with high living standards. Comparing this with Beijing 38 years ago, the pace of development is astonishing. Indeed, our country was poor in the early days of its establishment and people led a hard life. After nearly 40 years of reform and opening up, China has made big strides forward: from managing to stand on its feet to becoming prosperous and strong, and is now the second largest economy in the world. The quality of life of its people has continued to improve. Internationally, China plays a very important role in various areas such as politics, economics, technology and environmental protection.
Three months ago, President Xi Jinping visited Hong Kong to join us in celebrating the 20th birthday of the HKSAR, and administered the oath-taking for myself and the Principal Officials of the fifth-term Government. President Xi stated clearly that Hong Kong has always had, and will continue to have the strong backing of our motherland. The continuous development and growing prosperity of our country not only gives Hong Kong strength to rise to challenges, but also provides opportunities for Hong Kong to explore new directions for its development, and to seek new impetus as well as an expanded scope for such development.
During the past three months, in my new capacity as the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, I have been deeply impressed by the strength bestowed upon us by our country and the immense opportunities lying before us. I have visited the United Kingdom, Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar, and met with senior officials from different countries during their visits to Hong Kong. All of them expressed a keen interest in our country's Belt and Road Initiative and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area. They have also put forward specific proposals on forging closer ties with Hong Kong with a view to further taping into the Mainland market and attracting capital from the Mainland. These positive responses from the international community have reinforced my confidence in the future of Hong Kong with our unique advantages under "one country, two systems". During the same period, I have also visited Beijing, calling on 16 ministries in the Central People's Government and organisations, attended the 13th National Games and met with Director of General Administration of Sport of China. I have also visited Shanghai, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Changsha and Shenzhen, and held separate meetings with the Provincial Governors of Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Yunnan, Jiangxi and Fujian in the margins of the Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Cooperation Chief Executive Joint Conference. In addition, I have received the President of the Supreme People's Court, the Minister of Science and Technology, the former Chairman of the China Development Bank Corporation, officials of the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Commerce, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council as well as leaders of various provinces including Guangdong, Hubei, Shandong, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang provinces during their visits to Hong Kong. With their full recognition of the strengths of Hong Kong, coupled with the support of the Central Government and our enhanced ties with the Mainland, I am very optimistic that Hong Kong will have an even brighter future. As long as we capitalise on our strengths, stay focused, seize the opportunities before us and stand united, I am sure that Hong Kong can reach even greater heights. I also believe that this "Pearl of Orient" of our country will continue to shine, contributing to the development of our country and becoming an even better place to live in.
Let us wish our country and Hong Kong continued prosperity and progress, and the people of Mainland and Hong Kong every happiness.
Ends/Sunday, October 1, 2017
Issued at HKT 10:58
Issued at HKT 10:58
Audio / Video
CE attends National Day flag-raising ceremony and reception