President Xi Jinping tells Hongkongers to seize opportunities and ‘compose new miracles under Lion Rock’ in keynote speech to city’s elite

In veiled criticism against calls for localism and independence, Xi stressed link between Hong Kong and “the motherland” and thanked city for contributing to mainland China’s development

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 8:54pm

President Xi Jinping has called on Hongkongers to “believe in themselves, in Hong Kong, and in the country”, as he painted a bright outlook for a city that was occasionally left in confusion and uncertainty.

“The road ahead is not always smooth, but our original intent is unchanged, our determination unwavering,” Xi said in a keynote speech in a banquet the night before the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese sovereignty.

While noting the country’s “strong backing” for Hong Kong, Xi made special emphasis on Hongkongers’ own competence and wisdom in transforming a nameless fishing village into a modern metropolis.

“What is key to Hong Kong’s success … is the hard work of generations of Hong Kong compatriots,” Xi said.

For Hong Kong to achieve greater success, Xi said the key lies in development and the economy, leaving political changes or democratisation unmentioned.

“Only by consolidating and enhancing [Hong Kong’s systematic] advantages can it retain and attract talents,” he said. Xi called on Hongkongers to grasp new regional opportunities, including the Belt and Road initiative, in order to compose “new stories and new miracles under Lion Rock”.

In a veiled criticism against calls for localism and independence, Xi stressed the link between Hong Kong and “the motherland”.

“I would like to thank Hong Kong people for contributing to the mainland’s development,” Xi said. “We have never forgotten that.”

In his 17-minute speech, the president made an appeal to Hongkongers to have faith in themselves.

“Chinese people are great,” he said. “We have 5,000 plus years of uninterrupted civilisation.”