Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on Hongkongers to better integrate with the nation’s development to achieve long-term stability and prosperity for the city, according to the Beijing agency overseeing Hong Kong affairs. In a statement issued on Sunday, the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office elaborated on a congratulatory letter Xi sent to the pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao to mark its 120th anniversary. Xi urged the newspaper to write more “splendid chapters of the great renaissance of the Chinese nation, the Chinese dream and the steady development of ‘one country, two systems’.” “[The letter] is also an earnest call for Hong Kong society and Hong Kong compatriots to lay down the way forward for Hong Kong to integrate with national development in a better manner,” the statement said. Xi’s letter was read out by Luo Huining, director of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, at a ceremony held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. Xi spoke highly of Ta Kung Pao ’s contribution to the development of the People’s Republic of China since its founding in 1949 and said the newspaper had played a “positive role” in maintaining the city’s stability and prosperity. He praised Ta Kung Pao for offering a positive voice and contributing to closer exchanges between Hong Kong and mainland China. Xi also issued the letter in his capacity as general secretary of the Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Addressing nearly 1,000 guests at the ceremony, Luo said Xi’s remarks showed not only the president’s appreciation for the newspaper, but also of the one country, two systems principle that governed ties between Hong Kong and the rest of the nation. ‘Closed-loop’ plan for Hong Kong top officials ahead of 25th handover anniversary “These are also Xi’s encouragement for all media that love the country and love Hong Kong,” Luo said. “In a pluralistic society like Hong Kong, we especially need media that love the country and love Hong Kong to uphold the truth and to beat the evil and hail the virtuous. And we need media workers who love the country and love Hong Kong to hold tight to their mission and shoulder their responsibilities.” Also speaking at the ceremony, Chief Executive-elect John Lee Ka-chiu noted press freedom in Hong Kong was protected by the Basic Law and enjoyed the same safeguards as elsewhere in the world. “So long as it does not break the law, there is no limit to the room for press freedom. This standard is in line with the advanced jurisdictions in the world, including the West,” Lee said. “Journalistic work should aim to achieve professionalism and excellence. It is not only for its credibility, but also it is to assume its responsibility and meet media ethics.” Hong Kong’s leader urges next administration to embrace ‘political struggles’ Also officiating was outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who said one of the media’s roles was to promote national security. “In addition to continuing to make good use of press freedom to monitor the government, the media should also safeguard national security and observe the law, and take initiative to promote national security, to provide the general readers and viewers with the correct, comprehensive and objective information,” Lam said. Ta Kung Pao was founded in Tianjin on June 17, 1902. Ta Kung Pao and the pro-Beijiing Wen Wei Po formed the Hong Kong Ta Kung Wen Wei Media Group in 2016. Headquartered in Hong Kong, it has offices across the mainland and overseas.