President Jiang Zemin's Speech in Hong Kong
It is my great pleasure to come here and attend the ceremony in celebration of the first anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. I have brought with me warm congratulations and best wishes of the Central Government and people of all ethnic groups in our country to the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, our compatriots and people from all walks of life in Hong Kong.
On this very day a year ago, I solemnly announced here the resumption by the Chinese Government of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the official establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. This was a major event that is forever worth commemorating in the history of the development of the Chinese nation.
The developments in the year since Hong Kong's return have fully demonstrated that adherence to the policies of "one country, two systems, Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy and strict compliance with the Basic Law of the HKSAR constitute the fundamental guarantee for long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. Practice will continue to prove that the policy of "one country, two systems" will help to not only safeguard the interest of people of different social strata in Hong Kong, but also maintain Hong Kong's status as the international financial, trading and shipping centre. There is every reason to believe that as long as this correct policy is consistently followed, Hong Kong will be able to create a better future with the support of the mainland. There is also every reason to believe that the successful implementation of the policy of "one country, two systems" will serve as an example for Macau's smooth return to the motherland and for the final settlement of the Taiwan question.
We note with pleasure that the HKSAR Government headed by Mr. Tung Chee Hwa has administered Hong Kong capably and effectively over the past year in vigorously resolving issues relating to the welfare and well-being of Hong Kong residents that are of universal concern in Hong Kong, handling its internal and external affairs steadily and surely and taking up challenges calmly, in particular, in fending off the impact of the Asian financial turbulence. Since the establishment of the SAR Government, the executive, legislative and judicial bodies in Hong Kong have been functioning smoothly with a stable civil servants team. The elections for the first Legislative Council went along smoothly not long ago, which is an important step forward in the democratic process in Hong Kong. All this testified to the wisdom and the capacity of the SAR Government in administering the Hong Kong society and managing complex situations. The Central Government hereby expresses its satisfaction and appreciation for the remarkable achievements that you have made. Facts are a convincing testimony to the sound assertion made by Mr. Deng Xiaoping that "Hong Kong people can administer Hong Kong well".
We are delighted to note further that our Hong Kong compatriots have over the past year carried on their glorious tradition of loving the motherland and loving Hong Kong and under the leadership of the SAR Government fulfilled their sacred rights and responsibilities as masters of the land, resolutely upheld the dignity of their motherland, supported the policy of "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law, and made new contribution to safeguarding democracy and the rule of law and promoting prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. This commendable sense of responsibility and the spirit of acting as a master of the country are found everywhere in Hong Kong and in our compatriots working hard on various fronts, from civil servants working scrupulously to fulfill their duties to business people devoted to the economic growth of Hong Kong. This spirit is an important factor for the success of Hong Kong.
Owing to the Asian financial turbulence, Hong Kong is currently faced with difficulties. In the times of difficulty, it is all the more important for Hong Kong compatriots to build up their sense of responsibility as masters of the country and their confidence in overcoming difficulties. Officials at all levels of the SAR Government and Hong Kong compatriots of different social strata or in different occupations will be able to do a good job in managing Hong Kong affairs so long as they rally closely together, pool the wisdom and efforts of everyone and unswervingly support the work of the Chief Executive and the SAR Government.
Hong Kong's return marks a major turning point in Hong Kong's history, and everybody in Hong Kong has been subjected to the test of the changing times resulting from this historic turning. It is nothing strange for some people to find themselves unaccustomed to the changes, owing to the views and concepts that they had formed over a long period of time. But they will finally get accustomed to the changes if they have a deep love for the motherland and for Hong Kong, value their status as masters of the country and cherish their dignity of being Chinese.
Some evil elements have recently perpetrated outrageous acts in Hong Kong and Macau causing severe damage to the people's interests and investors' confidence. I am confident that the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Macau authorities have the capability of cracking down on such criminal activities according to law and effectively protect the personal safety of the general public and the business people as well as the safety of their property. We, on our part, will also render strong support and close coordination. We will never sit idle when these evil forces run rampant.
Currently, the situation in the mainland is good. Despite the Asian financial turmoil, we enjoy social and political stability and sustained economic growth. People of all ethnic groups throughout China, holding high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping theory, are determined to materialize the spirit of the Fifteenth National Party Congress and comprehensively advance the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century. The Party Central Committee and the State Council are introducing a series of measures to intensify state-owned enterprise reforms, streamline government institutions, rectify the financial order, readjust the economic structure, expand investment in infrastructure, further tap the domestic market, increase export by all means and continue to maintain a stable RMB. We are confident of obtaining this year's economic development objectives through hard work. China enjoys a surplus in its international balance of payment and will not devalue its currency.
Hong Kong's destiny has always been closely linked to that of the motherland. The reform, opening-up and modernization programs of the mainland have created unprecedented opportunities for an injected vigor and vitality into Hong Kong's economic development. When the Asian financial turmoil hit Hong Kong, the Central Government went all out in supporting the HKSAR Government in its counter-measures, particularly in its effort to maintain the currency peg and the overall stability in Hong Kong. This was a forceful demonstration that the great motherland is the strong backing for Hong Kong. The correct policies we have adopted with regard to the Asian financial turmoil showed the world once again that China is a major stabilizing force for regional and global peace and development.
The impact of the Asian financial turmoil has not gone away yet and Hong Kong's economic difficulties will continue for some time. Moreover, it is always better to anticipate greater problems and take early action to address them. The current difficulties will be overcome and there are conditions and capabilities of doing so. We have full confidence in this. Hong Kong enjoys a solid economic foundation with ample fiscal and foreign exchange reserves as well as a sound regime of financial regulation and supervision. Hong Kong has a contingent of high-calibre civil servants and sophisticated businessmen with rich experience in management and in adapting to international market changes. Hong Kong is still one of the universally-recognized most competitive regions. The economic strength and sound development momentum of the mainland can provide Hong Kong's economy with a strong support. The Central Government will continue to vigorously support the SAR Government in its measures to maintain financial and economic stability, the Hong Kong business community in making investment in the mainland and Hong Kong in its efforts to develop the tourist industry, high and new technology industries, infrastructure, entrepot trade and economic and technical exchanges and cooperation with the rest of the international community. We are convinced that Hong Kong will bring its advantages into full play, overcome the temporary difficulties and achieve even greater development.
I sincerely hope that under the leadership of the HKSAR Government headed by Mr. Tung Chee Hwa, Hong Kong civil servants, entrepreneurs and other Hong Kong compatriots will unite as one and, in the face of difficulties, make joint efforts to maintain Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. With the successful advancement of the socialist modernization cause of the motherland, Hong Kong, China's pearl in the lap of the South China Sea, will shine even brighter.