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President Jiang Zemin's Speech at Hong Kong's 5th Anniversary Celebrations


Dear Compatriots and Friends,

Five years ago today, I declared here, on behalf of the CentralGovernment, the resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong by the Chinese Government and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Now we are gathered here once again to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Hong Kong's return. Let me extend, on behalf of the Central Government and the people of all ethnic groups throughout the country, our most cordial greetings to the people of various circles in Hong Kong and our heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Tung Chee Hwa, the newly-appointed second Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR, the principal officials of his second term and members of the Executive Council.

The past five years since Hong Kong's return to the motherland saw "one country, two systems" being translated from a scientific concept into a vivid reality and the SAR Government under the leadership of Mr. Tung Chee Hwa making remarkable progress by closing ranks with the people in Hong Kong and overcoming one difficulty after another. Shortly after its return, Hong Kong was struck by the Asian financial crisis and some ominous turns of events in the global economy. With the strong support of the Central Government, the SAR Government took on the challenge calmly and, together with the people of all circles in Hong Kong, properly resolved a series of social and economic problems, thus maintaining the overall stability in Hong Kong. Today, the policies of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy have been implemented in an all-round way, and the capitalist system and thelifestyle that Hong Kong residents are accustomed to have remainedunchanged. Retaining the status as a free port and international center of trade, finance and shipping, Hong Kong continues to enjoy the reputation as one of the most dynamic regions in Asia and the world as a whole. Facts have shown convincingly that "one country, two systems" is entirely workable, that Mr. Tung Chee Hwaand the SAR Government under his leadership have the talent and ability to sit on top of complicated situations and that Hong Kongpeople are fully capable of administering Hong Kong successfully.

The past five years also saw us continuously enriched with experience of implementing the policy of "one country, two systems." "One country, two systems" is a brand new cause, which calls forjoint endeavor by the Central Government, the SAR Government and our compatriots in Hong Kong. To put in a nutshell, what we have learnt in the past five years is that the policy of "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR must be implemented in a comprehensive and accurate manner under any circumstances, that full support must be given to the Chief Executive and the SAR Government in their administration under thelaw, and that effective efforts must be made to strengthen the broad-based unity of the Hong Kong people under the banner of loving the country and loving Hong Kong, and to maintain a stable and harmonious society and a prosperous and growing economy in Hong Kong. As long as we persist in so doing, we will surely surmount all difficulties on the road to progress and the cause of"one country, two systems" will surely achieve even greater successes.

From its inception to its successful implementation in Hong Kong, the concept of "one country, two systems" went through an extraordinary process. Mr. Deng Xiaoping was the founder of this great cause. In a display of the wisdom, creativeness and bold vision of a towering statesman, he laid down this scientific concept and thus blazed a feasible way for the peaceful reunification of the motherland. It was under his personal attention and direct guidance that the China-UK negotiations on the settlement of the Hong Kong question and the drafting of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which was of a trail-blazing significance, were brought to fruition. In the face of major changes in the international situation as Hong Kong entered the latter half of the transitional period, we persisted with the policy of "one country, two systems," systematically went about various preparations for the resumption of exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and achieved a smooth transition. In reviewing this process, we feel all the more strongly that what has become of Hong Kong today has not come by easily. Indeed, it is the growing prosperity of the motherland that ensured the smooth return of Hong Kong and its successful implementation of "one country, two systems" thereafter. It also provides a reliable backing for the long-term social stability andeconomic prosperity in Hong Kong.

At present, the trends towards a multi-polar world and economicglobalization are developing in greater depth. With rapid advancement of science and technology and increasingly fierce competition in countries' overall national strength, the international situation is undergoing certain profound changes. Wemust adapt ourselves to such new circumstances and do still a better job in promoting our national development. Thanks to two decades of reforms, opening-up and modernization drive, China's overall national strength has increased substantially and the Chinese people on the whole have enjoyed a comfortable living standard. In the new century, China's mainland has entered into a new stage of development, a stage of building a well-off society across the country and expediting the socialist modernization while fulfilling the third-phase strategic objectives of our modernization program. We must firmly grasp the strategic opportunity at the early 21st century, keep abreast with the timesand press ahead with continued reform, opening-up and modernization. The next five to ten years are crucial for Hong Kong's economic and social development. The Hong Kong SAR government and the people of all circles are therefore required toalso keep abreast with the times, work hard and bring about an even better future for Hong Kong. To this end, I would like to express a few hopes.

First, I hope the people of all circles in Hong Kong will do still a better job in adapting themselves to the new Hong Kong after 1997 and become better masters of Hong Kong, and of our great motherland too. At the first anniversary of Hong Kong's return, I said that this important turn of history had put every Hong Kong compatriot to a test, and only those who could comply with the historical changes and had a genuine understanding of their new responsibilities could seriously get down to the shapingof Hong Kong's future role as masters of their own house. Our HongKong compatriots are not only masters of the Hong Kong SAR, but also of the country. They should, therefore, keep enhancing their sense of the country and of the nation, make conscious efforts to safeguard the security and unification of the motherland and endeavor to defend its overall interests. The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the eventual reunification of the motherland is the common aspiration of all Chinese. Everyone, including our Hong Kong compatriots, should devote oneself to thislofty cause with contributions that will make the country, the nation and the times really proud.  

Second, I hope the executive, legislative and judicial bodies of the Hong Kong SAR will constantly improve their job performanceso as to provide better services to the public and society. The executive-led structure should be further strengthened. The executive, legislative and judicial offices should go about their respective terms of references in accordance with the Basic Law, and do a better job in ensuring the overall interests of the Hong Kong citizens and serving the Hong Kong society by following the demand for social progress and economic development. Civil servants at all levels, especially ranking officials, should conscientiously submit themselves to and support the leadership ofthe Chief Executive, work with one heart and strive to achieve fresh successes. People from all walks of life should close ranks under the banner of loving the country and loving Hong Kong, support the work of the Chief Executive and the SAR government andget to grips with solving some major issues bearing on the future social and economic development in Hong Kong. I am confident that as long as the SAR government and Hong Kong residents could work together, giving full play to the talent of all social sectors while pooling the strength of the entire Hong Kong society, they will surely succeed in taking good care of Hong Kong.

Third, I hope the SAR Government and the Hong Kong people in general will strengthen their confidence and work persistently towards a new economic landscape in Hong Kong. It is always important to watch Hong Kong's economy closely. Hong Kong's past economic successes were the results of Hong Kong people's ability to adjust and innovate, to seize the opportunities and to adapt tochanging external environment while putting their own advantages to the best use. Hong Kong's future economic successes will still require the unremitting exploration and hard work of the SAR Government and the people of all circles. Given the current circumstances, it is all the more important not to lose sight of the main advantages of Hong Kong while acknowledging its current economic difficulties and problems. With a fairly strong economy and considerable competitive edge, Hong Kong is well-known in the world for its highly open and free economic structure, a fairly complete legal system, a sound business environment and extensive links with the world markets. What is more, Hong Kong has a contingent of high-quality civil servants, large numbers of successful entrepreneurs and an array of professional talents. Allthis will contribute to Hong Kong's successes in future competitions. The vast hinterland of China, its rapidly growing economy and rising international stature will also provide Hong Kong with highly favorable conditions for its development. The Central Government will continue to support and help Hong Kong in its economic recovery and development. I am confident that as longas our Hong Kong compatriots carry forward their fine traditions of courage, industry and enterprise, Hong Kong's economy will retain its famed dynamism and be always blessed with a bright future.

Ever since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, I have always felt an intense warmth every time I visited Hong Kong or met with personages from Hong Kong. Hong Kong is forever a shinning pearl of our motherland. Let me wish her an even better future, and all the residents here a happier and more successful life!

Thank you all.

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