President Jiang Zemin's Speech to Celebrate HK's Return
Comrades and Friends,
Today, the Chinese and British Governments have held the handover ceremony of Hong Kong, declaring the resumption by the Chinese Government of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the formal establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. With the rising of the Five-Star Red Flag and the Regional Flag of the SAR over Hong Kong, the over six million Hong Kong compatriots have now come back to the embrace of the great motherland. The vast land of China is a scene of jubilation and people from all corners of the world are fixing their eyes upon Hong Kong. The return of Hong Kong, the 100-year expectation of the Chinese people, has finally come true.
Tonight, people from all walks of life in Beijing have solemnly gathered here to celebrate this major event of our nation together with people in other parts of the country. On behalf of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Central People's Government and people of all ethnic groups in China, I would like to express my warm congratulations on the return of Hong Kong and on the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR.
The return of Hong Kong marks an end to the 100-year national humiliation of leaving Hong Kong under foreign occupation and has opened a new era of common development of Hong Kong and the mainland. It also symbolizes an important step in the great cause of achieving national reunification and new contribution of the Chinese people to world peace, development and progress.
The return of Hong Kong is a major event in the annals of the development of the Chinese nation and also in world history in the twentieth century.
At this important juncture, we cannot but think of Comrade Deng Xiaoping, chief architect of China's reform and opening-up program and the founder of the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. The contribution he made to the settlement of the Hong Kong question and the promotion of the complete reunification of our motherland was of major historic significance. We shall carry forward his legacy and work to ensure the success of Hong Kong and that of our modernization program and national reunification.
This important moment has also revived our profound memory of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De and other proletarian revolutionaries of the elder generation who were founders of the New China and made outstanding contribution to the Chinese nation. We recall the revolutionary martyrs and noble-minded patriots who heroically devoted their lives to the liberation of the Chinese people and to an independent, unified, strong and prosperous China. They would find it a great relief to hear that Hong Kong has finally come back to the motherland, Macao will come back soon, and the prospect of a complete national reunification and all-round rejuvenation of the Chinese nation now stands promisingly in sight.
Reflecting on the past in the light of the present, all sorts of feelings have welled up. Since the beginning of modern history, the Chinese people, tragically but heroically, traversed a long and rugged road, a road full of humiliation and hardship, aspirations and tenacious pursuit, twists and turns, and struggles and sacrifices. Without all this, we would not have been able to obtain full independence, progress, development and pride today.
In the 1840s and 1850s, Britain launched two aggressive Opium Wars against China and forced the government of the Qing Dynasty to sign the Treaty of Nanking, 1842 and the Convention of Peking, 1860, documents of national betrayal and humiliation which led to the cession of the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon to Britain. With the Convention of the Extension of Hong Kong in 1898, Britain forced the lease of the "New Territories" for ninety-nine years, thus occupying the entire Hong Kong area.
The occupation of Hong Kong is an epitome of the humiliation China suffered in modern history. The Treaty of Nanking was the first unequal treaty imposed by a big Western power upon the Chinese people. The Opium War turned China from a feudal society into a semi-colonial and semi-feudal one.
The brutal aggression of China by big powers and the two-fold imperialist and feudalist oppression of the Chinese people aggravated their sufferings and hence the crisis of the Chinese nation. On the other hand, they also awakened the entire nation and aroused people's resistance which contributed to the development and social progress of China. This is the rule of historical dialectics which is independent of the will of the oppressors.
The modern history of China tells us: a backward nation is liable to grief and a poor and weak one to bullying. The only way to fundamentally change one's historical fate is to rise up in resistance and work for a prosperous and powerful country. Ever since the first day of the big powers' aggression of China, the Chinese people had held high the patriotic banner in their struggle for national salvation and survival and against bullying through unity. From the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Uprising to the Boxing Movement, from the Reform Movement of 1898 to the Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, numerous sons and daughters of the Chinese people and noble-minded patriots advanced wave upon wave and endured all difficulties and hardships in pursuit of the salvation for the country and the people. In particular, after the May 4th Movement and the founding of CPC, the Chinese people got further united and, through hard struggle, eventually overturned the "three big mountains" and opened a new epoch of maintaining independence and building socialism. The Chinese nation will no longer allow itself to be bullied, oppressed and exploited by others. Today, the Chinese people have made remarkable achievements in their modernization endeavor. As a result, China now enjoys a higher international status in the world. It is against this background and for this very reason that Hong Kong has come back to China.
What the modern history of China also tells us is that the leadership of an advanced political party and guidance by scientific theories are indispensable for national liberation and for building a strong and prosperous country. Comrade Mao Zedong once said, it was only when the progressives in China found the scientific theory of Marxism and Leninism as the instrument for studying a nation's destiny that the Chinese people ceased to be passive in spirit and gained the initiative. It was the Communists who, integrating the basic theory of Marxism and Leninism with the specific reality in China, founded the Mao Zedong Thought and guided the people of China to their national independence and liberation and a socialist country with initial prosperity. Today, it is again the Communists who have carried forward and developed further Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, founded Deng Xiaoping's theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and led the Chinese people to victory and progress in the reform, opening-up and modernization endeavour. Without the leadership of the CPC and the guidance of its scientific theory, it would be inconceivable for us to achieve national liberation and build China into a strong and prosperous country.
China's modern history also tells us that to catch up with the progress of the times and trends in world development, a country must break up self-seclusion and go in for opening up. A major cause for the backwardness that China suffered after the industrial revolution in the West was the unwise closed-door policy adopted by the then feudal rulers, who, unaspiring as they were, forfeited China of its ability to advance with the times and to resist the imperialist aggression, leaving it many records of national betrayal and humiliation. To lift themselves out of poverty and backwardness, a rotten legacy of history, it is imperative for the emancipated Chinese people to concentrate on economic development and conduct extensive economic, trade, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges and co-operation with all other countries in the world to draw upon fine fruit of world civilization.
In the fundamental interests of the country and the nation and in view of historical and practical conditions, Comrade Deng Xiaoping, with the farsightedness of a great statesman and strategist, initiated the creative concept of "one country, two systems", which charted a right path to the realization of our national reunification. It was in accordance with this concept that we have successfully worked out a settlement for the question of Hong Kong's return to the motherland through diplomatic negotiations, and it has also set a new model for peaceful settlement by the international community of outstanding historical issues between states and international disputes.
We will unswervingly carry out the principles of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and "a high degree of autonomy", and make sure that the previous socio-economic system and way of life of Hong Kong remain unchanged and that laws previously in force in Hong Kong remain basically unchanged.
We will firmly support the Hong Kong SAR in its exercise of the functions and powers bestowed on it by the Basic Law and the Hong Kong SAR Government in its admins Government, provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central People's Government shall all observe the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR and none of them shall interfere in the affairs that shall be managed by the Hong Kong SAR on its own will unequivocally protect the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents in accordance with law. Economic activities, trade and investment interests of other countries and regions in Hong Kong will be protected by law.
The implementation of these policies will not only ensure long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong after its return to the motherland but also help promote the socialist modernization drive on the mainland. It will set an example for a smooth return of Macao and for the final solution to the Taiwan question. It will also contribute to enhanced international economic and technological co-operation and to world peace and stability.
In modern times, Hong Kong compatriots waged a heroic struggle against foreign aggression together with the rest of the Chinese nation. They have opened up and developed Hong Kong with their own hands and wisdom. Now that Hong Kong is back in the motherland, their political status has changed momentously. Never before have they showed such patriotism towards the motherland and Hong Kong. There is every reason to believe that with the great motherland as its strong backing, with the vigorous support of the entire Chinese people and the concerted efforts of Hong Kong compatriots, with full exploitation of its unique advantages, the international metropolis of Hong Kong will shed even greater radiance.
Continued prosperity and stability in Hong Kong will benefit all countries and regions having economic activities, trade and investment interests in Hong Kong as well as those having economic and trading ties with the mainland. As this is an issue involving interests of many parties, we hope that countries and regions concerned will adopt a constructive and co-operative attitude to it.
Above the sea, the moon shines bright; And everywhere in the world, people celebrate this moment in solemn delight. On this fine night, our compatriots in Macao and Taiwan and overseas Chinese are sharing the joy together with us on this grand occasion of celebrating Hong Kong's return.
Macao will return to the motherland in 1999, which will be another great event of our nation. Thanks to the friendly co-operation between China and Portugal, preparations for the return of Macao are now progressing smoothly. We have full confidence in Macao's smooth return.
It is an ardent aspiration of all Chinese to settle the question of Taiwan in line with the basic policy of "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems" and to realize the great cause of national reunification. We hope that the Taiwan authorities will, setting store by the overall interests of our nation, truly return to the one China position and take concrete steps towards the development of cross-Straits relations and to the complete reunification of the country.
As the 21st century is approaching, profound and encouraging changes are taking place on this planet where we live. With accumulated progress of human civilizations of several millennia, mankind has displayed enormous creativity. Peace and development have become the mainstream of our times and the world is moving in a direction favorable to the formation of a multipolar pattern and the establishment of a just and rational new international order. The new scientific and technical revolution driven by the development of the information technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. And never before have the world economic co-operation and competition and cultural exchanges and interplay been so extensive and profound. In today's world, we are faced with both challenges and opportunities. We must seize the precious development opportunities without letting them slip away and courageously take up the challenges to further expand the social productive force, increase the aggregate national strength of our country and improve the livelihood of our people.
To realize the modernization of our country and the rejuvenation of our nation, we must unswervingly implement the basic line advanced by the CPC and follow the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics charted by Comrade Deng Xiaoping. We must always concentrate on economic development, seize the opportunity to deepen reform, expand the opening-up program, promote development and maintain stability so as to open up new prospects for the continued thriving of our cause. At the forthcoming 15th National Congress of the CPC, we will map out a comprehensive strategic plan for reform, development, stability and other major issues in our country and put forward a program of action to guide our people in their efforts to press ahead with the socialist reform, opening-up and modernization drive towards the new century in an all-round way.
We Chinese people love peace dearly and fully appreciate its value. We will unswervingly pursue the independent foreign policy of peace, oppose hegemonism and power politics, support international just causes, continue to develop friendly relations and co-operation with all countries in the world, and will never seek hegemony. We are committed to regional and world peace and we want to be trustworthy friends of world people forever. Today is a day of great rejoicing marking Hong Kong's return to the motherland and is also the 76th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Reviewing the history and looking into the future, we are fully confident of the bright future of our great motherland and the Chinese nation. With the leadership of the CPC, the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping's theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and the unity of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and patriotic forces, we will be able to build our motherland into a prosperous, strong, democratic and civilized modern socialist country through continuous hard work of several generations in a great patriotic spirit. The great Chinese nation will be able to make fresh and even greater contribution to mankind.