President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the unique and irreplaceable role of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for China’s reform and opening-up in the new era. He also called on the two regions to better integrate themselves with the nation’s overall development.
Xi’s remarks came as he met with a delegation of about 210 representatives from the two SARs who were in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up.
The position and role of Hong Kong and Macao will only be strengthened rather than weakened, Xi said. The two regions should continue to play a leading role and enable more capital, technology and talent to take part in the country’s high-quality development and in the new round of high-level opening-up, he said.
People of the two regions should continue to devote themselves to the course of reform and opening-up with their genuine patriotism and pioneering spirit, he said.
Xi said China’s reform and opening-up, as well as the practice of “one country, two systems”, has entered a new era. For the two regions, the nation’s reform and opening-up is the largest platform, with the joint building of the Belt and Road and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area representing major new opportunities.
He also called for boosting the role of Hong Kong as an international financial, shipping and trade center, and stepping up development of the region into an international hub for innovation, science and technology.
For Macao, Xi said the region should step up its development as a global tourism center and a trade cooperation platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
Xi also stressed the need to better integrate the SARs with the overall plans of the nation, adding that the key to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area lies in innovation.
The two regions should take part more proactively in the governance of the country, improve their governance capacities and levels and more actively promote international people-to-people exchanges, he said.
He also called for greater support for the youth in the two regions in helping them solve difficulties in education, employment and innovation and in creating a social environment that can help young people realize their dreams.
Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said at the meeting that the strong support by the central government would be a major confidence booster for people in Hong Kong to embrace new development opportunities.
Also at the meeting, Chief Executive of Macao SAR Fernando Chui Sai-on expressed appreciation for the country’s unwavering support for Macao, including efforts to position the SAR as a global tourism center and a trade platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.