Remarks by Commissioner Xie Feng at 2020 Spring Reception
2020/01/09

 

Remarks by H.E. Xie Feng

Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

of the People's Republic of China

in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

at 2020 Spring Reception

 

9 January 2020, Hong Kong

 

 

 

The Hon. Vice Chairman Tung Chee Hwa,

The Hon. Vice Chairman C Y Leung,

The Hon. Chief Executive Carrie Lam,

Your Excellency Commander Chen Daoxiang,

Your Excellency Political Commissar Cai Yongzhong,

Deputy Director Chen Dong,

Distinguished guests,

Dear friends,

 

The year 2019 we just bid farewell to was an eventful one.

 

Together, we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and withstood the gravest challenge facing Hong Kong since its return. Bearing in mind our mission to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and staying committed to our original aspirations to contribute to the prosperity and stability of the HKSAR and the well-being of Hong Kong compatriots, we at the Commissioner's Office have lived up to our responsibility and forged ahead against all odds.  

 

We have stepped forward to fight resolutely against external forces exploiting the anti-amendment movement to interfere in Hong Kong and in China's internal affairs as a whole and undermine "one country, two systems", and have joined hands with the rest of the international community to uphold the non-intervention principle and other principles of international law and basic norms governing international relations.

 

We have actively spoken up for truth, and refuted foreign politicians who distorted and smeared "one country, two systems" out of ulterior motives. We have made it clear that the Constitution of the PRC and the Basic Law of the HKSAR together form the constitutional basis of the HKSAR, that "one country" is the very prerequisite for and foundation of "two systems", that the Central Government has overall jurisdiction over the HKSAR and the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by the HKSAR is granted by the Central Government, and that it is vital to both uphold the Central Government's overall jurisdiction and ensure the high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR.

 

We have stood up for justice, and called on Hong Kong society and the international community to grasp the nature of the social unrest and the consequences of the rampant violence, and say no in unison to the black-clad rioters. We have rallied support for Chief Executive in leading the HKSAR Government in law-based governance, for the Hong Kong police in strictly enforcing the law, and for the judiciary of the HKSAR in bringing the violent offenders to justice, so as to prevent the virus of violence from getting complicated by other viruses such as separatism, extremism and populism, or even developing into the tumor of terrorism.

 

Despite the black terror haunting Hong Kong, we have courageously chartered the course forward and made new advances. We co-hosted with the HKSAR Government the first International Forum on Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, so as to support Hong Kong in better integrating itself into overall national development and seeking mutually beneficial cooperation with the rest of the world. We recommended five young professionals as the first batch of HKSAR youth to take up positions in the United Nations system, so as to boost youth development in Hong Kong. We facilitated the opening of the Economic and Trade Office in Bangkok by the HKSAR Government. We conscientiously handled over 400 Hong Kong-related consular cases and provided protection to Hong Kong compatriots overseas.

 

Distinguished guests,

Dear friends,

 

The year 2020 we have ushered in is of milestone significance.

 

In the 1980s, the Central Government of China put forward a three-step strategy towards modernization. The first step is to double the per capita GDP to US$500 during the 1980s and meet the basic living needs of the Chinese people; the second step is to double the number again to US$1,000 by 2000 and achieve a moderately prosperous standard of living; and the third step is to increase the number to US$4,000 in another 30-50 years.

 

But no one could have ever imagined back then that the per capital GDP in China would exceed US$10,000 only a few days into 2020, fulfilling 2.5 times the target decades ahead of schedule. And no one could have ever imagined that the total retail sales of consumer goods in China would be expected to surpass RMB¥40 trillion (approximately US$5.76 trillion) in 2019, making China the world's largest consumer market.

 

China has grown into not only a major consumer market but also an important supplier. Boasting 41 industrial divisions, 207 groups and 666 classes of products and services, it has the world's largest supply chain network and is the only country that ticks all the industrial category boxes under the United Nations' industrial classification standard. With highways reaching all administrative villages, high-speed rail accounting for two-thirds of the world's total in terms of mileage, and more than half of the world's 4G base stations, China has become a pacemaker in infrastructure. Over 60 billion parcels are delivered in China each year, more than the rest of the world combined. The average cost of having a package delivered to any part of China is as low as about US$1, which may not be enough for tipping in some Western cities. But it is exactly these packages that have connected factories with markets and China with the rest of the world, speaking volumes about China's manufacturing, domestic demand, technology, efficiency and vast potential.

 

China has gathered an unstoppable momentum towards comprehensive, sustained and quality growth. We not only enjoy a splendid civilization that has spanned uninterrupted over 5,000 years, but also have the capability to mobilize entire society to focus and follow through on national goals, enabling us to fully modernize China's system and capacity for governance.

 

We are more confident than ever in China's development. China is advancing along the right development path, which suits its national reality, proves fruitful and brims with vitality. The Chinese nation, which has stood up, grown rich and is becoming strong, is closer than ever in modern times to great rejuvenation. Building on the past achievements made through arduous efforts, the Chinese people are more assured about and capable of overcoming challenges and achieving the two centenary goals.

 

We are more confident than ever in "one country, two systems". Following the principle, the Chinese government successfully resolved the Hong Kong question left over from history through diplomatic negotiations with the British government, and resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997. Over the following 22 years, the vision has been translated into reality. Hong Kong has maintained overall prosperity and stability, making progress on various fronts. In particular, since the very day of its return, Hong Kong has been re-integrated into China's national governance system and has embarked on a journey of unity and common development with the motherland.

 

Although the social unrest has lasted over seven months, the fact that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of the PRC and a special administrative region directly under the Central Government remains unchanged. Any plot to separate Hong Kong from China and turn it into an independent or semi-independent political entity is nothing but wishful thinking.

 

We are more confident than ever in the future of human development. The world is witnessing changes unseen in a century. Black swans and gray rhinos seem to be everywhere, unilateralism, protectionism, populism and extremism are on the rise, and the international landscape is turbulent with escalating tensions. But it is exactly during such periods of time that it is all the more important to have a keen grasp of the underlying trend and stay strategically steady. We need to see that peace and development remain the trend of the times, and that win-win cooperation is the right way forward. Seeking personal gains at others' expense or resorting to power politics and bullying is becoming increasingly unpopular, and acting against the trend of history will only get one nowhere. The international community needs to jointly uphold the international order, champion free trade, reject the law of the jungle and any attempt to undermine the international rule of law, and oppose long-arm jurisdiction, abuse of force, and coercive sanction and extreme pressure in any form, so as to better protect our common home.

 

Distinguished guests,

Dear friends,

 

On the last day of 2019, my colleagues and I went for a hike to Victoria Peak. As we were climbing up, we had a deeper understanding of the observation made by General Secretary Xi Jinping: "We are in a stage very much like climbing half way up a mountain. As the things get tough, we must press ahead and there is no turning back." And when we greeted each other at the Lion's Pavilion half an hour later and drank in the beauty of Victoria Harbor, we came to better appreciate the sayings that "The best view is saved for those scaling the steepest hill" and that "Where there is a will, there is a way".

 

The philosophy of hiking applies perfectly to the development of a nation. Looking back at the 5,000 years of Chinese civilization and the seven decades of achievements of the PRC, we will find that the Chinese people have traversed an extraordinary uphill journey, surmounting obstacles after obstacles and keeping going on.

 

Although challenges may abound on the way ahead, the Chinese people's aspiration for a better life can never be suppressed, our pursuit of national rejuvenation never be stopped, and our determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests never be shaken.

 

Although the social unrest is yet to end, we have every confidence that Hong Kong will bounce back as it always does, restore stability and write a new chapter of greater success of "one country, two systems".

 

And although the world is amid changes and chaos, we trust that people around the globe have the wisdom to make the right choice in line with the fundamental and long-term interests of humankind. Openness and cooperation will surely prevail over estrangement and confrontation, fairness and justice over power politics and bullying, multilateralism over unilateralism, and mutual learning between civilizations and harmony within diversity over the Cold War mentality and ideological biases.

 

Distinguished guests,

Dear friends,

 

Let's scale new heights hand in hand in the new year, and let's wish China greater prosperity, Hong Kong brighter prospects, and the world a better future!

 

Thank you.

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