Chinese President Xi Jinping, who arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday for the anniversary celebration, said facts have proven the great vitality of "One Country, Two Systems," which guarantees Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability and ensures the well-being of the Hong Kong compatriots.
Delivering a short speech at the West Kowloon high-speed rail station, Xi called on Hong Kong to uphold "One Country, Two Systems" unswervingly and strive for a brighter future.
Xi: Hong Kong has emerged stronger after tests
"It has been five years since my last visit to Hong Kong," said Xi, who visited Hong Kong in 2017 as the city celebrated the 20th anniversary of its return to China.
Xi said he has been concerned about and caring for Hong Kong all along. "My heart and the central government's heart are always with the Hong Kong compatriots," he said.
He said Hong Kong had withstood a series of grave tests and overcome a series of risks and challenges over a period of time, adding that the city has since emerged stronger and shown great vigor.
Hailing the strong vitality of "One Country, Two Systems," he said as long as the principle is upheld unswervingly, Hong Kong will surely have an even brighter future and make new, greater contributions to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Xi will attend a meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Friday.
During a meeting with HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Thursday, Xi spoke highly of her efforts to firmly implement the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and the Basic Law and her role in facilitating a major transition from chaos to order in Hong Kong.
"One Country, Two Systems" is a basic policy that the Chinese government has been implementing in Hong Kong since resuming the exercise of sovereignty over it on July 1, 1997.
Despite the many challenges over the past 25 years, the practice of "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong has been a "resounding success," Xi said when meeting with newly elected and appointed sixth-term Chief Executive of the HKSAR John Lee on May 30.
The central government's resolve to fully and faithfully implement the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" has never wavered, still less will it change, he told Lee.
Xi has repeatedly stressed the need to fully and faithfully implement the principle - stay committed to the basis of "One Country" and leverage the benefits of "Two Systems" well.
Hong Kong has achieved remarkable development under "One Country, Two Systems" since its return to China.
In 2021, Hong Kong's economy grew to 2.86 trillion Hong Kong dollars (about $364 billion), up from 1.37 trillion Hong Kong dollars in 1997. During the period, its total foreign trade in goods more than tripled to 10.27 trillion Hong Kong dollars.
Hong Kong has emerged stronger as an international financial, shipping and trade center. It has been consistently rated by global institutions as one of the freest and the most competitive economies with a world-class business environment.
The average life expectancy in Hong Kong in 2021 stood at 83 years for males and 87.7 years for females, compared to 76.8 years and 82.2 years, respectively, in 1997.
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