One Country, Two Systems" Works in Hong Kong, Says President Xi Jinping

During the oath-taking ceremony of the new leader of Hong Kong, Xi Jinping Shen highlighted the advantages of “one country, two systems” governance model. His premised on the fact that its success in Hong Kong has been widely viewed by everyone as [...]

  China's President Xi Jinping waves following his speech after a ceremony to inaugurate the city's new leader and government in Hong Kong on July 1, 2022, on the 25th anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China.SELIM CHTAYTI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
In Hong Kong, Xi Jinping, China's president, waved following his speech at an inauguration ceremony for the city's new leader and government on July 1, 2022. The day marked the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping repeatedly emphasized the advantages of the "one country, two systems" governance model, saying its success has been widely recognized by the international community as he presided over Chief Executive John Lee's swearing-in ceremony in Hong Kong.

In a speech marking the former British colony's 25th year under Chinese rule, Xi said, "There is no reason to change such a good governance model, which must be adhered to over the long run." The Chinese President also praised Hong Kong for its freedom and openness and said the Asian financial hub had created a world-class business environment.

Xi said that Hong Kong has triumphed over "winds and storms" and is making progress steadily. The international financial crisis, Covid-19 outbreaks, as well as social unrest haven't been able to stop the city's progress, he added.

The speech echoed Xi's remarks delivered after he arrived at the West Kowloon railway station, when he said Hong Kong "has been reborn from the ashes" and is "showing vigor and vitality." The trip to the Asian financial hub marks China's president first visit outside mainland China since January 2020, when the world's second-largest economy closed its borders to prevent spread of coronavirus and follow a strict zero-tolerance approach.

  Hong Kong's new Chief Executive John Lee gives a speech following his swearing-in as the city's new leader.SELIM CHTAYTI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Hong Kong's new Chief Executive John Lee gave a speech following his swearing-in as the city's new leader.SELIM CHTAYTI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

In spite of China's pledge to keep the former British colony's capitalist system and liberal freedoms for 50 years, many Hong Kong residents have been expressing their dissatisfaction with China's involvement in the city’s affairs. In 2014 and 2019, widespread protests emerged that attempted to pressure Beijing to fulfil its democratic promises as stated in the city’s mini-constitution.

Beijing refused to make any meaningful concessions and instead adopted a hardline approach that included arresting scores of opposition lawmakers, activists, and journalists. Beijing also imposed new restrictions on the city's electoral system that effectively prevent opposition politicians from holding public office.

Hong Kong has been criticized for its strict Covid controls, which have isolated the country from the rest of the world and undermined its status as an international financial center.

The new leader of Hong Kong will face pressure to balance the need to lift travel restrictions against Beijing's desire to maintain strict pandemic controls. In his own speech delivered in Mandarin, rather than Hong Kong's native dialect of Cantonese, Lee acknowledged that the city has gone through a series of challenges, such as Covid-19 and social unrest. He said that the future of the city is intertwined with that of China and that it should be China’s gateway to the world.

Hong Kong's economy, in fact, is becoming more intertwined with the mainland's. The latter has been its largest trading partner since 1985 and accounted for over 50% of Hong Kong's trade (worth almost $700 billion) last year,

China relies on Hong Kong's financial markets to attract foreign funds. Hong Kong has a large number of mainland companies listed in it, and they contribute heavily to the total market capitalization and turnover value of the Stock Exchange.

Yue Wang reported.