Xi Jinping’s visit will help cement our ties to the nation

The president, here for the 20th anniversary celebrations of the handover, clears any doubts about the continued implementation of the ‘one country, two systems’ formula that has worked so well for Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 1:13am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 1:57am

President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday began his three-day visit to Hong Kong, the first time he has been here since he became the head of state. On his arrival at the airport, Xi spelled out the three purposes of his trip – to express good wishes; to show support; and to help Hong Kong plan its future. It has always been Beijing’s policy to firmly support the special administrative region. That is why as we mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty, the state leader left behind his busy schedule in the capital to visit the city. “Hong Kong’s development has always pulled at my heartstrings,” he said. The 20th anniversary of the handover was also an important and joyous occasion for the entire nation, he added.

Exactly how the city can plan for a better future will be closely followed by the local and international community. Xi said the central government would join people from all walks of life in Hong Kong to review what he described as an “extraordinary journey” over the past two decades and look forward to the future with confidence. This was to ensure the continued success of the “one country, two systems” policy, he said. Amid growing unease over the implementation of the policy in recent years, Xi has stressed that we must ensure that the formula will not deviate from its original form. Yesterday’s remarks are the clearest indication yet that Beijing will continue to firmly adhere to the “one country, two systems” principle in future.

 

 

Xi’s packed schedule includes meeting outgoing and incoming officials. He commended outgoing chief executive Leung Chun-ying for his performance over the past five years and encouraged him to further contribute to the country and Hong Kong in his new capacity as a vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Xi also visited the West Kowloon Cultural District, where he attended the signing ceremony for the construction of the Hong Kong Palace Museum. Today, he may meet local youngsters after inspecting the PLA garrison stationed here. Tomorrow, he will oversee the swearing-in of the new administration and examine the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge that is under construction.

The itinerary is a good opportunity for Xi to see the changes in the city since 2008, when he came here as the vice-president. The limited time and security constraints mean most Hongkongers will only get to see and listen to the visiting leader in the media.

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The visit is also a timely opportunity for Beijing and Hong Kong to foster better mutual trust and understanding. The prevailing tension hinders the development of a healthy relationship between the city and the central authorities. As we venture beyond the 20th year of implementing the “one country, two systems” formula, our common goal is to make Hong Kong an even greater success.