Xi Jinping praises Hong Kong government for curbing city’s independence movement
President ‘endorses’ work of governing team under Leung Chun-ying and praises its ‘sense of responsibility towards the country, Hong Kong and history’
Xi, who arrived in Hong Kong for a three-day visit on Thursday, was speaking in a meeting with outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, his ministers and top civil servants, executive councillors and heads of the city’s judiciary and legislature.
In a short speech, Xi said he would like to talk about the success of “one country, two systems” – the governing formula for Hong Kong – Beijing’s recognition of what the city’s government had done in the past five years, and his hope that officials and politicians could continue to contribute to the country and Hong Kong’s development.
He said the central government “highly endorses” the work of the governing team.
“Under Leung’s leadership in the last five years, you showed a sense of responsibility towards the country, Hong Kong and history in seriously implementing ‘one country, two systems’,”Xi said.
“You made achievements on issues such as land, housing, elderly and poverty... and especially, on steadily handling a series of important political and legal issues, curbing ‘Hong Kong independence’ effectively, and maintaining social stability.”
The president lauded the team for demonstrating a “valuable sense of political commitment”.
“I would like to say here that you all worked hard,” Xi added.
The independence movement in Hong Kong became a national issue in October when two pro-independence lawmakers-elect insulted Beijing as they were being sworn in. Their antics prompted China’s top legislative body to issue an interpretation of the Basic Law that made “insincere” oath-taking punishable by instant disqualification.
Leung also launched a legal battle against the duo, who were eventually stripped of their seats.
Xi told the Hong Kong officials that “one country, two systems” had been very successfully implemented and noted that the city had established its own system very well in accordance with the Basic Law, its mini-constitution.
The success and “correctness” of the political model, guaranteeing the city its freedoms, was reflected in the continued prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, which had survived challenges such as the Asian financial turmoil and severe acute respiratory syndrome,, he added.
Making his third and last point, Xi called on the officials, whether or not they would serve in the new administration,to retain in their hearts the commitment to serve Hong Kong and the country.
He asked them to support incoming chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her administration in ruling in accordance with the law and conducting more exchanges with mainland society. He also hoped young people would contribute to his “China dream” of a national revival.
Additional reporting by Kimmy Chung