Xi Jinping urges Hong Kong’s elite to unite in supporting new chief executive
President outlines four tasks for the city’s business and political leaders
President Xi Jinping urged Hong Kong’s business and political leaders to unite in supporting incoming chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and fostering social harmony.
He also urged them to take a leading role in caring for the young generation and enhancing cooperation with mainland China.
Addressing an audience on Friday that included a former, current and incoming chief executive – Tung Chee-hwa, Leung Chun-ying and Lam – Xi reiterated that the “one country, two systems” governing formula for Hong Kong had been a success, and Beijing would continue to implement it without it “being bent or distorted”.
Xi is in Hong Kong to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover to China.
“New situations have arisen in the implementation of ‘one country, two systems’ ... but we have to understand the complicated historical root and international background behind Hong Kong’s many problems,” he said.
“We must not generalise on the causes, nor must we respond emotionally. It is not scary to have problems – the key is to find solutions.”
Xi added: “For Hong Kong, the question it should care about is not whether ‘one country, two systems’ will change, but how to implement the principle comprehensively and accurately, and push for the city to achieve prosperous development.”
He said business and political leaders should take a leading role in four areas of work.
First, they should support the administration of Lam, who will be sworn in on Saturday morning.
“Do well on being the bridge and node between the government and the people, and facilitate the implementation of policies to develop the economy and improve people’s livelihood,” he said.
Second, they should unite in safeguarding social harmony, “and let the strong positive energy of ‘loving the country and love Hong Kong’ converge”.
Third, they should care about young people so that they will “love the country, love Hong Kong” and become successors to the work of “one country, two systems”.
“Help to solve their practical problems and create the criteria for them to grow,” Xi urged.
Fourth, they should promote Hong Kong’s cooperation with the mainland.
“Do what you are good at, and give your advice and energy ... there is much space and potential for the motherland and Hong Kong to further develop.”
Xi’s remarks came a day after he began his landmark visit by lauding the local government for “effectively curbing” independence advocacy and promising Beijing’s full support to usher the city into a new future.
Those who attended the meeting on Friday afternoon included Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, who sat in the first row, Wheelock and Wharf’s former chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching, and Stephen Ng Tin-hoi and Jonathan Choi Koon-shum, chairmen of the city’s biggest chambers of commerce.
Many of Hong Kong’s deputies to the Chinese legislature and top national advisory body also showed up, including Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, Maria Tam Wai-chu and Chan Wing-kee.