Stage set for HK, Macao to assume more responsibilities

In a dignified and unconcealed manner, General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered on Oct 16 a work report over the preceding five years to kick off the weeklong 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China — a gathering of 2,340 political elites from across the country. Speaking in his capacity as the general secretary of the CPC, Xi evaluated the Party’s work over the past five years and laid out the goals and plans for the Party’s medium- and long-term missions. 

With tasks well set for various major fields of domestic endeavors, such as social security, food security, education and talents nurturing, culture, COVID-19 control, foreign trade, the domestic economy, ecology, digitalization and whole-process democracy, as well as Party discipline and governance, Xi is vigorously concerting efforts of all ethnic groups in China to fulfill the interim goal of achieving socialist modernization by 2035, and ultimately the long-term mission of progressing by 2049 to the status of a great modern socialist nation that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.

To this glorious goal, the Party’s Central Committee has decided to diversify the economy from the hitherto high-speed growth into high-quality development with an appropriate inclination toward “domestic circulation”, taking into consideration the profound changes in the world economic and political landscapes. This, however, does not mean that China is heading toward a “self-contained” situation amid its well-grounded drive for further opening-up of the country to foreign trade and investments. As explained further by the deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, Zhao Chenxin, China will march resolutely forward along “the path of multilateralism” and promote a more-open and inclusive economy.

Both the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions have again emerged as the big gainers in the Party Congress after they were given noticeable mention in the work report

Without the slightest doubt, the words as expressed solemnly by General Secretary Xi are of paramount importance, with benefits for stakeholders both inside and outside the mainland, and have put the CPC concretely on a new journey to the Chinese-style modernization grounded in the solid foundation laid by the Party’s past achievements such as successful “dynamic zero-COVID” control and the large-scale alleviation of rural poverty, and on the State-initiated program for common prosperity, which is essential to China’s modern socialism.

Both the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions have again emerged as the big gainers in the Party Congress after they were given noticeable mention in the work report. In a bid to boost confidence in the “one country, two systems” framework as the only effective formula for maintaining the two SARs’ long-term stability and prosperity in the foreseeable future, Xi reiterated his unambiguous stance on the framework, insisting that this is the best way to ensure the effective governance of the SARs, which will continue to serve as a strong magnet for peace, stability and prosperity for their residents and investors. Only through the extension and perfection of this constitutional order will the two SARs be in a guaranteed position to see the rainbow for their political stability, security, and economic viability, and thus improve livelihoods for the residents.

Thanks to the decisive actions taken by the central authorities in Beijing to tackle at root the symptoms and causes behind Hong Kong’s 2019 tumult — including promulgating the stabilizing National Security Law for Hong Kong and initiating the “patriots-only” electoral reform — the HKSAR government has put an end to the months-long insurrection launched by the anti-China subversives. Without these bold measures, the suffering of Hong Kong residents living in fear amid rampant street violence would have been prolonged.

It’s only with the resumption of law and order by the HKSAR authorities and the consequential return of stability and governance without the interference of hostile foreign forces that the HKSAR can regain a high degree of autonomy in public administration and freedom in everyday life. With the support pledged by President Xi in his speeches delivered at the HKSAR’s anniversary on July 1 and at the Party Congress’ opening ceremony on Oct 16, Hong Kong is able to step forward with great confidence to resolve the deep-seated issues that have been left by the British rulers but have never ceased to weigh us down heavily in the crucial socioeconomic developments.

Certainly, there is no misunderstanding that the substantial parts on the HKSAR in Xi’s work report should be considered as guidelines for the city’s efficacious governance, furnishing a solid and easily identified basis for relevant policy formulation and implementation in the crucial spheres of the city’s administration. In hailing the work report, Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said that the messages on the SARs offered “new concepts, new vision and strategies” for bringing into perfection the “one country, two systems” framework and its operation, which have highlighted Beijing’s unswerving determination to fully and accurately implement the framework, ensuring the SARs’ high degree of autonomy under the central government’s comprehensive jurisdiction over the SARs.

The stage has been set for the SARs to put into full use their competitive edges afforded by “one country, two systems” in improving local people’s livelihoods, as well as taking up a bigger responsibility in the realization of the national dream of rejuvenation by proactively participating in national development on the major fronts.

The author is a member of the Chinese Association for Hong Kong and Macao Studies.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.