1st July 2022 – (Hong Kong) President Xi Jinping attended the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the inauguration ceremony of the sixth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the 3rd floor of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Hall at about 10am today. After the new administration team is sworn in, the five-year term will officially begin.
About 1,300 guests joined today’s ceremony, including Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Mr Xia Baolong; the Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, Mr Luo Huining; members of the Executive and Legislative Councils; Hong Kong deputies to the National People’s Congress and members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; political and economic figures; local dignitaries; senior executives of Hong Kong-based Chinese enterprises; and members of the foreign diplomatic corps.
At the beginning of the inauguration ceremony, everyone stood up to sing the national anthem, after which President Xi Jinping witnessed the oath-taking session by Chief Executive John Lee followed by the main officials led by Chief Secretary for Administration Eric Chan Kwok-ki. Subsequently, under the supervision of John Lee, Chan led the official and non-official members of the Executive Council to take the oath. After the oath-taking ceremony was completed, Lee delivered a speech first, followed by President Xi Jinping’s speech. After the completion, the inauguration ceremony also ended.
John Lee said in his speech that he has been sworn in as the new Chief Executive under the 6th term and he thanked the Central government for entrusting him to create more vibrancy for Hong Kong. He added that the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” is the successful pillar for Hong Kong which makes it competitive in the world. Hong Kong has been through several challenges including global recession, riots and interference by foreign forces and it has succeeded in overcoming various hurdles. With the enactment of National Security Law, the law and order in Hong Kong has been restored. With sound governance under the patriots governing Hong Kong, the city will soar to new heights. He also said that the new Hong Kong Palace Museum will attract visitors from all over the world and it will enhance the international positioning of Hong Kong. Hong Kong will capitalise on the opportunities brought about by the development of the Greater Bay Area. The government will work ‘together’ with central government and everyone to stay united and to continue the legacy of Hong Kong.
At 10.48am, President Xi gave his speech. He congratulated John Lee, his new administration team and expressed gratitude to all fellow Chinese in Hong Kong and overseas for supporting the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”. Over the past 25 years, Hong Kong has enjoyed robust economic growth and maintained its status as a global financial, shipping and trade center, Xi said at the meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
He said that Hong Kong has become the integral part of the national development and it has become the paradigm of international expansion for the Mainland since its return to motherland. No obstacles including social upheavals have stopped Hong Kong. The society has remained stable as a whole. He also said that Hong Kong compatriots have become the masters of their own destiny. Hong Kong’s electoral system has also been improved with patriots governing the city. He stressed that the underlying goal of principle of “One Country, Two Systems” is to uphold China’s sovereignty and security and it’s for the benefit of HKSAR and Macao SAR. The democratic system of the HKSAR, which conforms to the “one country, two systems” policy and Hong Kong’s constitutional status, is conducive to safeguarding the democratic rights of Hong Kong residents and maintaining prosperity and stability in Hong Kong, said Xi.
He also pointed out that Hong Kong has experienced different challenges and has not stopped its progress, and Hong Kong’s democratic system must conform to the principle of “One country, Two systems”, reiterating that “One country, Two Systems” is a great creation that has never been seen before. Many foreign countries also support the principle so there is no reason to change and it needs long-term persistence.
Upholding national sovereignty, security and development interests is the paramount principle in the policy. On the basis of this prerequisite, Hong Kong and Macao maintain their capitalist system over the long run and enjoy a high degree of autonomy, he noted. Safeguarding national security is the highest policy of one country, two systems, and the central government must uphold the overall governance.
According to Xinhua News, the central authorities exercise overall jurisdiction over the SAR, which constitutes the source of a high degree of autonomy in the SAR; at the same time, the central authorities fully respect and firmly safeguard the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by the SAR as enshrined in law, Xi said at the meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term government of the Hong Kong SAR.
“Enforcing the central authorities’ overall jurisdiction and upholding the SAR’s high degree of autonomy are integral aspects of the same policy, and only by ensuring both can we run the SAR truly well,” Xi said.
He said that the unwavering policy should be applied faithfully without being bent or distorted after being tested over time. The policy has the support of 1.4 billion people in China and also in Hong Kong and Macao. It must be kept advancing in the right direction in full spirit as it is integrated in the socialist system which is the fundamental feature of the Republic of China. Hong Kong must be safeguarded by the principle of ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’ to protect its prosperity, stability and the interests of more than 7 million people in the city. The next five years is crucial for Hong Kong to break new grounds and there will be more opportunities and challenges. The new government should live up to people’s expectations and they must concentrate on improving education sector, addressing housing shortage and enhancing elderly care. Hong Kong must not be de-stabilised and all interferences should be removed so that Hong Kong can stay focus on development. In particular, the government must heighten the sense of national pride among young people and help them by providing more opportunities to them.
Xi called for greater resolve and more effective steps to address existing problems so that more fruits of development will reach all people in Hong Kong in a more equitable way.
Earlier at around 8am, the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland ceremony was held at the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wanchai. John Lee who was about to be sworn in as the sixth chief executive of Hong Kong’s government, and a group of high-level government officials attended the ceremony. President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan were not present but would attend the inauguration. As the strong Wind Signal, No. 3 is being hoisted, the wind at the scene was also more intense. In addition, this year is the third consecutive year that there was no public viewing area.
The 27-member flag guarding team, entered the arena with Chinese-style marching. The singer then sang the national anthem before the national flag and the regional flag were hoisted, while helicopters from the Government Flying Service flew over, and vessels of the disciplined services paid their respects at the Victoria harbour. In addition to the main officials, the former Chief Executive Carrie Lam as well as members of the Executive Council, Legislative Council and representatives of central agencies in Hong Kong were also present at the flag-raising ceremony.