Chinese newspaper People’s Daily lauds Xi’s commitment to ‘one country, two systems’ ahead of Hong Kong visit

Communist Party mouthpiece cites the president’s past roles in aiding the city as a sign of his unwavering support

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 1:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 6:23pm

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been steadfast in his commitment to the “one country, two systems” principle in the governing of Hong Kong, according to two articles from People’s Daily – the Communist Party’s top mouthpiece – hours ahead of Xi’s arrival to the city for a landmark three-day visit.

One of the reports in the newspaper set out about 20 things Xi had said or done to support the city since he became the party’s supreme leader in 2012.

Among the highlights were Xi’s various meetings with Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, whose term will expire on Friday, and his successor Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

Also mentioned were Xi’s personal involvement during times of crisis, such as the Manila hostage incident and the Lamma ferry tragedy.

The central government’s support of the Hong Kong administration in opposing pro-independence activists to protect China’s sovereignty was also cited.

The article noted the national legislature’s ruling last year which made “insincere” oath-taking by lawmakers in Hong Kong punishable by instant disqualification.

The interpretation of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution the Basic Law, came months after the anti-China antics of two pro-independence lawmakers-elect during their swear-in. They were later stripped of their seats by the city’s court.

The 4,580-word article on page four of the overseas edition of the People’s Daily also features Beijing’s economic initiatives such as the inclusion of Hong Kong in its “Belt and Road Initiative”, a global trade and development strategy, the central government’s latest five-year plan and the Greater Bay Area project to foster closer ties between Hong Kong, Macau and nine mainland cities.

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The title of the report roughly translates from Chinese into: “Ardent care warms the city, while a far-reaching vision unveils the future”.

The article attributed Hong Kong’s success in the past five years to “the party’s determination and confidence in executing ‘one country, two systems’ under Xi’s leadership ... and the central government’s care and support”.

It stated that Xi chose Shenzhen as his first destination to visit outside the capital, after he rose to power in the Communist Party in 2012. “During the trip ... Xi clearly and firmly told Hong Kong reporters that ‘Hong Kong will be prosperous!’” the article read.

In 2013, 2015, and last year, Xi had told Leung that Beijing would support the latter’s administration in developing the economy and improving the livelihood of Hongkongers.

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In recent years, Hong Kong businesses involving mainland companies have also expanded, while programmes have been launched to connect the city’s stock exchange with Shenzhen and Shanghai, it added.

The article also said that Xi cared deeply about tragedies affecting Hongkongers, such as the 2012 Lamma boat incident, in which 37 people drowned, and the 2010 Manila bus hostage crisis, which resulted in eight Hong Kong tourists killed.

In 2014, Xi had helped to lobby for Manila’s official apology over the incident, the report noted.

A front page article in the same edition of the newspaper on Thursday urged Hong Kong to find its rightful place and embrace China’s global strategy under “core leader” Xi’s rule.

The piece detailed how, under Xi’s leadership, Beijing has supported Hong Kong. It urged Hongkongers to have an “accurate” understanding of “one country, two systems”.

Despite the article’s overall endorsement of the city’s political framework, it cited some “new situations” in recent years, but did not specify these.

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“Some people in Hong Kong have not adapted to the important historical turn,” it said, adding that some Hongkongers had a “vague” understanding of “one country and two systems” and the Basic Law.

The article endorsed the Hong Kong government’s efforts in quashing pro-independence activities and street riots.

It quoted Xi as saying that the political framework governing Hong Kong will not change and that the central government has supported the development of the city’s democracy as it always did.

The article said Xi attached a great importance to Hong Kong’s role as Asia’s financial hub in many national economic development strategies, including the belt and road plan.

“Hong Kong should find its right position, leverage its strengths and actively react to national strategies,” the article stated, while affirming the city’s ability to play the role of “super connector” between China and the world.