Remarks by the Commissioner at 2019 Spring Reception and "Friends of Diplomacy" Award Presentation Ceremony

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 2019 Spring Reception and “Friends of Diplomacy” Award Presentation Ceremony

(Commissioner’s Office Building, 30 January 2019)


The Honorable Vice Chairman Tung Chee Hwa,

The Honorable Vice Chairman C Y Leung,

The Honorable Chief Executive Carrie Lam,

His Excellency Director Wang Zhiming,

His Excellency Political Commissar Cai Yongzhong,

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Friends,

  We are having this delightful gathering today to review the journey we jointly took in 2018 and envision the prospects of 2019. The photos and footage we just saw in the video bear witness to our cooperation, recalling the unforgettable memories for the past year.

  Indeed, the year 2018 has been exceptional. Our world, amid turbulence and uncertainties, has experienced the unfolding of major changes unseen in a century. China, thanks to its reform and opening up endeavor, has calmly handled all kinds of challenges and made steady steps forward in the new era. Hong Kong, with the prevailing healthy trend, is actively integrating into national development and renewing the success of “one country, two systems”.

  Over the past year, amid changing international landscape, China’s diplomacy, which befits itself as a major country, has made important headway under the guidance of Xi Jinping thought on diplomacy. New styles were demonstrated in the four major diplomatic events at China’s home ground. A new phase has been unveiled in developing the Belt and Road Initiative. New progress has been made in stabilizing relations with other major countries. New breakthroughs were accomplished in the neighborhood diplomacy. New responsibilities were taken by China in shaping global governance and new results were achieved in our efforts to uphold national interests.

  Over the year, the Commissioner’s Office has remained true to our original aspirations and firmly kept a sense of mission. We have provided services to the country and to the Hong Kong SAR, and stayed connected with the residents of Hong Kong. We have worked with the Hong Kong compatriots to uphold “one country”, fighting in unequivocal terms against the foreign intervention forces and their activities, and safeguarding the sovereignty, security and development interests of the country.

  By making good use of our diplomatic resources and combining the strengths of respective parties, we have worked to help the SAR Government expand the external exchanges and cooperation. We organized promotional conferences and matchmaking events for the tripartite cooperation involving Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Belt and Road countries, with a priority on ASEAN countries including Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. With that, we helped Hong Kong to better participate in the Belt and Road and the Greater Bay Area development, embracing the development of the nation as whole.

  We hosted the international conference on China’s 40 years of reform and opening up, with the gathering of political leaders, experts and scholars from across the globe to Hong Kong. Through the use of international language and the “Hong Kong platform”, we told the success story of China’s reform and opening up, China’s diplomacy and “one country, two systems” to the world. By staging this event, we offered valuable ideas on the reform and opening up in the new era. We encouraged Hong Kong to scale even higher and we promoted sound interactions between China and the world and the building of community of shared future for mankind.

  We are conducting diplomacy for the people. We have promoted public awareness on preventive consular protection by engaging closely with the government departments, schools, professional groups and local communities, and by launching animated cartoons. For the whole year, we handled over 800 consular cases involving Hong Kong compatriots. We provided emergency assistance in the events of earthquake in Hokkaido, Japan, and typhoon in Saipan, and rushed to the rescue when our Hong Kong compatriots encountered accidents. The country’s consular protection covers places wherever Hong Kong compatriots made footsteps.

  We are making friends with more and more young people in Hong Kong. We staged a successful “Hong Kong Cup” Diplomatic Knowledge Contest, and an open day event at the Commissioner’s Office for the Hong Kong youth. We organized events such as “Diplomacy on Campus”, “International Law on Campus” and “Friends of Diplomacy” Summer Camp. We helped over 700 Hong Kong young people to make study tours in Belt and Road countries. In future, the Commissioner’s Office will work with the Hong Kong society to help brilliant local young minds to work in international organizations including the United Nations, so as to open up new space for them to perform and serve the nation.

  Dear Guests,

  Dear Friends,

  China’s diplomacy is for the entire Chinese people, including over seven million Hong Kong compatriots. Our compatriots in Hong Kong have placed national rejuvenation at their hearts, and cared deeply about the development of the motherland. They have always walked should by shoulder with the country’s diplomacy.

  Our Hong Kong compatriots are the upholders of national sovereignty, security and development interests. On major issues concerning territorial integrity and national dignity, you have always stood firmly with the country, demonstrating a strong sense of responsibility as Chinese nationals. Under the leadership of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong SAR Government has firmly upheld the “one country, two systems” and the Basic Law and faithfully implemented the constitutional responsibilities of safeguarding national sovereignty and security, while bearing in mind the overall picture of national interest and diplomacy.

  Our Hong Kong compatriots are the facilitators of cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world. You have made the most of the city, a converging hub between the East and the West with worldwide connections, and you have played a unique role in promoting cultural exchange, mutual learning and people-to-people communications. Vice Chairman Tung Chee Hwa has long been an active leader of people-to-people exchanges and a strong advocate for the “one country, two systems”. At the age of 82, he still works hard to promote mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between China and the world.

  Our Hong Kong compatriots are the practitioners of opening up strategy for win-win outcome. As a distinctive window and platform, Hong Kong enjoyed its unique position in the national reform and opening up process, making major contribution and playing indispensible role. In the new era of opening up, and in developing the Belt and Road and the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong will only enjoy a more enhanced position and role, and will continue to serve as a “super-connector, facilitator and promoter”. Vice Chairman C Y Leung has been personally involved in the process. He has led the Belt and Road Hong Kong Center in launching the cataract blindness eradication campaign and the Hong Kong Youth New Runway Program, which are spreading brightness and friendship along the Belt and Road countries.

  Our Hong Kong compatriots are the contributors to China’s participation in global governance. Under the “one country, two systems” framework, Hong Kong has engaged in extensive exchanges and cooperation with other countries in areas such as trade, tourism and culture. Hong Kong has participated, in accordance with the Basic Law, in 93 inter-governmental organizations and played an important role. It has attended over 2,000 international conferences as members of the Chinese delegation. A large number of Hong Kong professionals are holding important positions in international organizations, contributing their wisdom to global governance. Dr. Margaret Chan, former Director-General of WHO, is an outstanding example.

  Distinguished Guests,

  Dear Friends,

  Our country’s diplomacy has secured Hong Kong’s further development, with Hong Kong adding more glory to national diplomatic endeavor. To show our high regards and heartfelt gratitude, today we will present the “Friends of Diplomacy” award to four exceptional representatives of the Hong Kong compatriots who have made remarkable contribution to China’s diplomacy and Hong Kong-related diplomatic work. This is the first time for the Commissioner’s Office to present the award since its inauguration in 1997. The four “Friends of Diplomacy” are from different career backgrounds and social sectors. Yet they all take the service to Hong Kong and contribution to the country as their own responsibility, sharing profound love towards China and love towards Hong Kong. They each serve as a leader with noble character and high prestige in their respective fields, who are considered as excellent “non-governmental ambassadors” with global vision and talented communication skills. They have supported China’s diplomacy and made noticeable contribution to promoting the national interest, national image and China’s exchanges and cooperation with the world over the years. The last but not least, they are all good friends and good partners of the Commissioner’s Office, providing valuable support to our work.

  Distinguished Guests,

  Dear Friends,

  This year we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Seven decades have passed. China has never been so close to the center of the world stage, so close to fulfilling the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and so confident and able to realize this goal. We diplomats shoulder the historic mission of fostering an enabling environment for the national rejuvenation and making greater contribution to peace and development of mankind. We hope more and more Hong Kong compatriots, in particular young people, would join the “Friends of Diplomacy”, who will take pride in serving the nation, forge close ties with China’s diplomacy and make joint efforts with the Commissioner’s Office. Let us carry forward the spirit of “Friends of Diplomacy” that loves the country, loves Hong Kong and loves diplomacy, and jointly open up a new chapter of China’s major country diplomacy in the new era.

  Finally, I wish you a Happy Spring Festival.

  Kung Hei Fat Choi!

  Thank you.

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