Speech by H.E. Mr. Xie Feng Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong SAR At the Opening Ceremony of the International Forum on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area
2019/10/24

 

 

Speech by H.E. Mr. Xie Feng

Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong SAR

At the Opening Ceremony of the International Forum on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

24 October 2019, Hong Kong

 

 

Your Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Somkid and Minister Suriya,

The Hon. Vice Chairman Leung Chun-ying,

The Hon. Chief Executive Carrie Lam,

Your Excellency Governor Ma Xingrui,

Vice Chairman Luo Wen,

President Li Xiaolin,

Secretary Leong Vai Tac,

Commissioner Shen Beili,

Deputy Director Qiu Hong,

Mr. Keiichi Tanizaki from the Tokyo Bay Area,

Mr. Jim Wunderman from the San Francisco Bay Area,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

 

A warm welcome to you all for attending the International Forum on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, co-hosted by the Government of the HKSAR of the People's Republic of China and the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the HKSAR. Special thanks go to the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, China Center for International Economic Exchanges, Our Hong Kong Foundation and the Better Hong Kong Foundation for your active support. 

 

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. Through arduous efforts over the past seven decades, the Chinese people have not only created a development miracle, but also found the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics suited to our national reality.

 

It is a path leading to national prosperity. In only seven decades, China has accomplished what took developed nations hundreds of years. Once an impoverished country, it is now the world's second largest economy, the largest manufacturer and the largest trader in goods. China's industrialization started 200 years after that of the Untied Kingdom and 100 years after the mass production of automobiles in the United States, and yet we have leaped from the "bicycle era" into the "automotive era" and then into the "high-speed rail era", from "Made in China" to "Created in China", and from "the world's factory" to "the world's market".

 

It is a path delivering tangible benefits to the people. We have lifted more than 800 million Chinese out of poverty, accounting for over 70% of the world's total. By the end of next year, China will be the first-ever country in human history to eliminate absolute poverty. We have a 400 million-strong middle class, the world's largest, who own apartments and cars, have money and leisure, and can take a vacation whenever they like. We have also ensured access to nine-year compulsory education for 92.4% of school-age children, endowment insurance for over 900 million people, and medical insurance for over 1.3 billion.  

 

It is a path seeking win-win cooperation. China, which has stood up, grown rich and is becoming strong, is an engine of the world economy, contributing the most to global growth for more than a decade in a row. It is a stabilizer for world peace, being the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget, and the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the Security Council. It is also a provider of international public goods such as the Belt and Road Initiative and a major positive force in addressing global challenges including terrorism and climate change.

 

Socialism with Chinese characteristics has taken root in China, yielded fruits, and brimmed with vitality.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Socialism with Chinese characteristics not only pursues a better life for the Chinese people but also contributes to human progress as a whole. In the face of the profound changes never seen in a century, President Xi Jinping has laid out a set of new ideas and propositions based on a keen grasp of the trend of the times. They have crystallized into Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, opening up a new chapter in major-country diplomacy with Chinese features.

 

China calls on all members of the global village to forge a community with a shared future for mankind, and build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys durable peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

 

We champion dialogue and partnership instead of confrontation and alliance, and reject the law of the jungle under which the strong and big bully the weak and small.

 

We believe in pulling together instead of turning against one another, committed to promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and making economic globalization more open, inclusive and balanced so as to benefit all.

 

We hold that no civilization is superior to others, that human civilizations cannot be reduced to only one single color or model, and that exchange should replace estrangement, mutual learning replace clashes, and coexistence replace a sense of superiority.

 

We understand that "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets", and encourage international cooperation on climate change so as to jointly protect the Earth, our common home.

 

We pursue open, green, and high standard Belt and Road cooperation guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, so as to improve people's lives and promote sustainable development.

 

We are developing a global network of partnership to make more friends.

 

We play an active part in the reform of the global governance system, and uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core, the rules-based international order and the WTO-centered multilateral trading regime.

 

China, as ever, is ready to join hands with other countries to create a brighter future for the world.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

A virus has been running rampant in Hong Kong, which is even more deadly than SARS. Its name is "street violence".

 

The recent developments have made it increasingly clear that what we are seeing here are in no way peaceful protests, but outright violent crime. The rioters committed arson and vandalism, hurled petrol bombs in operating metro stations, and detonated homemade bombs. They assaulted the police and tried to grab their guns, slashed an officer's neck with a box cutter and injured his jugular vein and nerve, and beat ordinary citizens bloody with metal rods, bricks and stones, solely because the latter voiced different opinions. Such acts have posed a grave threat to the personal and property safety of Hong Kong citizens, trashed the law and order that has been the pride of the city, and trampled upon human civilization and morality that are so dear to our hearts.

 

To our astonishment, however, some foreign forces have been selectively blind and deaf to such solid facts, and even told blatant lies and plotted to sow more trouble. People with a sense of justice cannot help but wonder: why do they justify their police as safeguarding law and order in countering street violence on their own soil, but accuse the Hong Kong police of excessive force and infringement upon human rights? Why do they applaud the anti-mask ban in their countries as just and necessary, but criticize it for suppressing democracy and freedom when it comes to Hong Kong? If the masked black-clad crowds are simply expressing democratic aspirations, why should they cover their faces? Is it because the "democracy" they are asking for can only remain in darkness, or is it their violent crime that cannot come into the light?

 

The US House of Representatives passed the so-called "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act", the "Protect Hong Kong Act" and the "Stand with Hong Kong Resolution" last week. The just people cannot help but ask: Isn't it typical hypocrisy that these congressmen are passing domestic laws to meddle with Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs as a whole, even as they accuse China's Central Government of eroding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy? Isn't it pure arrogance that they keep pointing fingers at Hong Kong, which ranks higher than the US in terms of both the rule of law and freedom? Are they truly "protecting Hong Kong" as they claim, or condoning violence and protecting the rioters? Why do they "stand with Hong Kong" in word, but stand with the rioters in deed?

 

What has happened fully shows that opposing the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance is merely a pretext. The true motive of the opposition in Hong Kong and the foreign forces behind them is to mess up the city, overthrow the legitimate government, seize jurisdiction, and ultimately destroy "One Country, Two Systems" by turning Hong Kong into an independent or semi-independent political entity. But that is nothing more than wishful thinking. Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. Any external coercion or pressure will not intimidate the 1.4 billion Chinese people, including our 7.5 million Hong Kong compatriots. Nor will it hold back the development of the Chinese nation. Any attempt to play Hong Kong as a card is doomed to fail and backfire.

 

The virus of street violence knows no boundaries or limits. It is highly susceptible to being complicated by other viruses such as populism, separatism and extremism, and may even develop into the tumor of terrorism. Recent days have seen the street violence in Hong Kong imitated in other cities and countries around the globe, and the activists championing so-called "Hong Kong independence" colluding with foreign separatists at a faster pace. From Spain to the UK to Chile, protesters are threatening to "do a Hong Kong". Should the Pandora's Box of street violence be opened and the rioters continue to "defy the law for the sake of justice" as they claim, human civilization as a whole would be plunged into calamity, and no country would stay immune.

 

Therefore, not a single second should be lost to stop violence and end the chaos. The international community cannot afford to remain silent, sit idly by, or gloat at the unrest in Hong Kong, still less endorse the rioters. We call on friends from around the world to lend a helping hand to Hong Kong in maintaining its prosperity and stability, condemn the "black hand" that incites street violence, and jointly combat the virus of violence.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) is a rare source of stability and hope in a chaotic world. It is an opportunity not only for the three regions, but also for China as a whole, and for the entire globe.

 

The GBA is a new frontier of China's fresh round of reform and opening-up. As an experimental field, the GBA features innovation-driven and reform-led development, and enjoys a unique strength by effectively coordinating the markets and resources both at home and abroad. It will focus on higher-quality development instead of faster quantitative growth, and on institutional openness at a higher level instead of merely the free flow of goods and productive resources. By shifting from original equipment manufacturing to independent R&D and further to coordinated regional innovation, and from the optimization of the traditional regional division of labor to global allocation of resources, the GBA initiative will inject fresh impetus into China's reform and opening-up.

 

The GBA is a new endeavor under "One Country, Two Systems". One of the principles in its development is to both stay committed to the basis of "One Country" and well leverage the benefits of "Two Systems", and abide by the Constitution and the Basic Law. Hong Kong and Macao have a major role to play in the initiative. Economically, they will expand space for development and open up new possibilities. In areas concerning people's livelihood such as employment, education, healthcare and public services, they will also enhance cooperation with the mainland and better integrate into national development, thus fully tapping the potential of "One Country, Two Systems".

 

As an idiom goes, "An opportunity missed is an opportunity lost." We are convinced that under Mrs. Carrie Lam's leadership, Hong Kong compatriots will stop violence, end the chaos and restore order with united efforts at an early date. We have every confidence that the dark clouds over the Pearl of the Orient will be lifted, and that Hong Kong will return to the right track of developing economy and improving people's livelihood, and embark on a new journey.

 

The GBA is also a new platform for win-win cooperation between China and the rest of the world. The GBA will explore easing market access in line with high-standard trade and investment rules, and improve the pre-establishment national treatment and negative list management approach for foreign investment. By 2020, it will take only one working day for foreign investors not on the negative list to complete the filing process, and less than four working days to start a business. The GBA aims to develop itself into a global tech innovation leader, an incubator of emerging industries, an international hub of transport, logistics and finance, as well as a global center for cultural exchange, and render strong support to the Belt and Road Initiative. An interconnected and open GBA is looking forward to sharing opportunities with the rest of the world, and creating a better future with businesses and talents from around the globe.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The future is not shaped by chance, but by choice. Therefore, stop waiting, seize the opportunity, go out and get it.  

 

The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is an unstoppable trend of the times, win-win cooperation the best choice for China and the world, and integration into national development a sure way for Hong Kong to scale new heights. May Hong Kong bounce back from the difficulties, may the GBA make greater success, and may China and the rest of the world achieve common prosperity through win-win cooperation!

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

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