"One Country, Two Systems" is a great initiative pursued by China. It offers a new way of thinking and a new formula to the international community in addressing similar issues. It is another contribution made by the Chinese nation to promoting global peace and development. And it embodies the Chinese vision which values openness and inclusiveness. To uphold and implement the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" meets the interests of the Hong Kong people, responds to the needs of maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, serves the fundamental interests of the nation, and meets the shared aspiration of all Chinese. That is why I have made it clear that the Central Government will unswervingly implement the policy of "One Country, Two Systems" and make sure that it is fully applied in Hong Kong without being bent or distorted. This will enable us to keep advancing in the right direction.
"One Country, Two Systems" is a pioneering initiative that has no precedent to follow. Its application entails an evolving process. Currently, some new developments have occurred and new issues emerged regarding its application in Hong Kong. Hong Kong needs to improve its systems to uphold national sovereignty, security and development interests. It needs to enhance education and raise public awareness of the history and culture of the Chinese nation. It is yet to build public consensus on some major political and legal issues. The Hong Kong economy also faces quite a few challenges. Hong Kong's traditional strengths start to lose the edge while new drivers of growth are yet to emerge. Housing and other issues that affect the daily life of the people have become more serious. To address these challenges, meet the expectation of Hong Kong people for a better life and advance Hong Kong's development in all sectors, we must stay on the right and steady course, gain a full understanding of the policy of "One Country, Two Systems" and faithfully implement it. Hence, I wish to take the opportunity to talk to you about how to better implement the policy of "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong.
First, it is imperative to have a correct understanding of the relationship between "One Country" and "Two Systems". "One Country" is like the roots of a tree. For a tree to grow tall and luxuriant, its roots must run deep and strong. The concept of "One Country, Two Systems" was advanced, first and foremost, to realize and uphold national unity. That is why in the negotiations with the United Kingdom, we made it categorically clear that sovereignty is not for negotiation. Now that Hong Kong has returned to China, it is all the more important for us to firmly uphold China's sovereignty, security and development interests. In conducting day-to-day affairs, we must be guided by a strong sense of "One country", firmly observe the principle of "One Country", and thus correctly handle the relationship between the HKSAR and the Central Government. Any attempt to endanger China's sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the Central Government and the authority of the Basic Law of the HKSAR or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line, and is absolutely impermissible. On the other hand, on the basis of "One Country", the "Two Systems" should and have every reason to stay in harmony and reinforce each other. We must both adhere to the "One Country" principle and respect the differences of the "Two Systems", both uphold the power of the Central Government and ensure a high degree of autonomy in the HKSAR, both give play to the role of the mainland as a staunch supporter of Hong Kong and enhance Hong Kong's own competitiveness. At no time should we focus only on one aspect to the neglect of the other. Only in this way can we ensure that the ship of "One Country, Two Systems" will break the waves, sail steadily and go the distance.
Second, it is imperative to always act in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law. Hong Kong's return completed a major transformation of its constitutional order. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law of the HKSAR together form the constitutional basis of the HKSAR. The Constitution is the fundamental law of the State. It embodies the common will of people of all ethnic groups in our country, and represents the legal origin of the system of special administrative region. The Basic Law is a basic legislation enacted in accordance with the Constitution. It provides for the system and policies that should be practiced in the HKSAR, codifies into law and makes institutional arrangement for the principle of "One Country, Two Systems", and provides legal safeguards for the practice of "One Country, Two systems" in the HKSAR. In observing the constitutional order prescribed by the Constitution and the Basic Law, it is important both for the Central Government to exercise power in accordance with the law and for the HKSAR to fulfill its own responsibilities as the main actor. We should improve the relevant institutions and mechanisms for implementing the Basic Law and raise public awareness of the Constitution and the Basic Law in Hong Kong, particularly among civil servants and the young people. These steps are integral to practicing "One Country, Two Systems", advancing the rule of law nationwide and upholding the rule of law in Hong Kong.
Third, it is imperative to always focus on development as the top priority. Development, an abiding pursuit, is crucial for Hong Kong's survival, and it holds the golden key to resolving various issues in Hong Kong. The concept of "One Country, Two Systems" was advanced to achieve two goals: namely, peacefully resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, and maintaining Hong Kong's status as an international financial, shipping and trading center in order to promote further growth. Currently, more focus should be given to development. Teenagers want to grow up happily. Young people want to bring out the best of their talent. People in mature years want to be successful, and the seniors want to enjoy their golden years. Obviously, all this can only be achieved through development. Hong Kong enjoys the backing of the motherland and is open to the world. It therefore has many favorable conditions for development and distinctive competitive advantages. In particular, China's continuous and rapid development over the years provides an invaluable opportunity, an inexhaustible source of strengths and broad space for Hong Kong's development. As a saying in Hong Kong goes, "After leaving Suzhou, a traveler will find it hard to get a ride on a boat", meaning an opportunity missed is an opportunity lost. It is important to cherish the opportunity, seize it and focus your energy on Hong Kong's development.
Fourth, it is imperative to always maintain a harmonious and stable social environment. The concept of "One Country, Two Systems" gives expression to the vision of peace and harmony in the Chinese culture. It embodies a very important tenet, namely, seeking broad common ground while setting aside major differences. Hong Kong is a plural society. So it comes as no surprise that there are different views and even major differences on some specific issues. However, making everything political or deliberately creating differences and provoking confrontation will not resolve the problems. On the contrary, it can only severely hinder Hong Kong's economic and social development. Bear in mind the larger interests, communicate in a sensible way and build more consensus: this is the best way to find solutions to issues over time. On the part of the Central Government, we are ready to talk to anyone who loves the country, loves Hong Kong and genuinely supports the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, no matter what political views or position he or she may hold. Harmony brings good fortune, while discord leads to misfortune. Hong Kong is an affluent society, but it also faces enormous challenges posed by profound changes in the global economic environment and the increasingly intense international competition. It cannot afford to be torn apart by reckless moves or internal rift. The people of Hong Kong must be united, work together and help each other, and by so doing, you will ensure the success of Hong Kong, your common home.