Cherishing Peace And Prosperity In Hong Kong

來源: 中央政府駐港聯絡辦          發佈時間: 2019-04-15

Cherishing Peace And Prosperity In Hong Kong

Speech at the 2019 National Security Education Day Symposium

(April 15, 2019)

Wang Zhimin

The Honourable Vice-Chairman Tung Chee-hwa,the Honourable Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Deputy Director Deng Zhonghua, Vice-Minister Huang Wei, Commissioner Xie Feng, Deputy Commander Tian Yongjiang, Mr. Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, Mr. Paul Yip Kwok-wah, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen :

  Good morning

  Today marks the fourth National Security Education Day. After successfully hosting the first National Security Education Day Symposium in Hong Kong last year, the Hong Kong Policy Research Institute’s Hong Kong Vision Project is again organizing this forum today, coupled with an exhibition. This shows that Hong Kong now has multiple ways to conduct national security education with richer contents. On behalf of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, I wish this symposium a complete success. I’d also like to express my heart-felt thanks to Hong Kong Vision Project and Mr. Mr. Jasper Tsang Yok-sing as well as Deputy Director Deng Zhonghua and Vice-Minister Huang Wei, who came down from Beijing to attend this symposium. I hope that you’ll find this symposium and exhibition a rewarding experience. I also wish to see more local residents and young people show up at the exhibition, which may help increase their awareness to safeguard national security.

  We all know that security is the humankind’s primary demand and the top priority of every nation. Therefore, while preparing for this speech, I kept thinking: from what angle should we understand and approach national security education in Hong Kong under “One Country, Two Systems”?

  Over the past few days, an important verdict delivered on April 9 by a Hong Kong court elicited great public concern and debate, which also set me thinking. This past April 9, without a doubt, marked a momentous day for the rule of law to prevail in Hong Kong, and a significant chapter in the history of the special administrative region’s rule of law and justice. The court handed down guilty verdicts for all nine initiators of the illegal “Occupy Central” campaign. Many local residents saw the conviction as a victory for Hong Kong and for the rule of law. They felt relieved that justice was finally served 1,654 days after the illegal campaign. The trial has drawn a legal red line for illegal activities endangering public security and social stability, such as “Occupy Central”. Everyone who loves Hong Kong has thus felt relieved. The trial also brought back painful memories of the 79-day illegal campaign of “Occupy Central”, which undermined the rule of law, people’s livelihoods and social well-being. The lives of millions of Hong Kong people were jeopardized by the illegal campaign. The loss of daily income has made many taxi drivers find it difficult to make ends meet. At the height of the blockades, close to 50 percent of bus services were suspended or rerouted. More than a thousand hotel room reservations were canceled every day. Small and medium retailers in the vicinity of the occupation sites lost up to 80 percent of their sales. Hong Kong was plunged into the “capital of chaos” instead of being “one of the safest places on Earth”. Central, the financial district of Hong Kong and the pride of local residents, was brought to a standstill, coupled with a public sanitation and hygiene crisis. The illegal campaign gravely hurt Hong Kong’s economic growth and undermined the city’s prosperity and stability as well as its international image. To a great many people, the damages the illegal campaign has done to the rule of law, people’s livelihoods and social well-being also jeopardized public peace, social stability and national security.

  History is the best teacher while reality the best classroom. Over the past few years, many of my friends kept asking these questions: why did some professors and scholars, instead of being models of virtue, brazenly instigate this illegal campaign of “Occupy Central” that endangers national security? Why should the general public “pay” for the damages they inflicted? How could an unlawful assembly that disrupted social peace and caused grave losses to the local economy and people’s livelihoods last for 79 days? Why didn’t those initiators show any remorse for their crimes? Why did it take so long for justice to be served? Different people may have different answers to these questions. But I believe no Hong Kong residents should or will give up looking for the answers. As an ancient Chinese saying goes, “one should never forget about danger while in safety; those who survived should never forget those who didn’t; and people in times of peace should never forget times of chaos.” If we all agree that Hong Kong has paid dearly for having to pull through the “pain of diminished security”, we should have thought it over and learnt a few lessons.

  Firstly, the people of Hong Kong can’t possibly enjoy peace and prosperity without national security. In Hong Kong, we must always keep in mind our civic responsibility as required under “one country”. Recently, many Hong Kong residents raised such questions as: Is Hong Kong still plagued by hostility five years after the illegal campaign of “Occupy Central”? Is Hong Kong still what it used to be? These questions reveal people’s hope and expectation for Hong Kong’s future. We know that Hong Kong is still one of the safest cities in the world with 758 crimes per 100,000 people in 2018, the lowest since 1971; Hong Kong leads the world’s developed economies with a growth rate of 3 percent in 2018; Its unemployment rate fell to 2.8 percent for the past year, the lowest in 20 years. Many local residents expressed their appreciation of Hong Kong’s social atmosphere becoming more positive and confident. Peace and stability has indeed gained ground in Hong Kong. It’s our sincere hope that the situation in Hong Kong will get even better with lasting peace and stability.

  Nevertheless, these questions served as reminder that security is like air and sunshine, without which we can’t survive. Those who have endured the painful days during the illegal campaign of “Occupy Central” had first-hand experience. Without peace and stability, life is impossible and development is out of the question. Therefore, it’s a meaningful event for us to gather here to discuss national security. National security is not a far-off and abstract idea but something that has to do with our daily life. It is not the exclusive duty of just a few people but the civic responsibility of every citizen. Safeguarding national security is not only an inherent requirement of "one country, two systems", but also vital to Hong Kong people’s sense of security and happiness. We should always keep in mind that national security is the surest guarantee of people's well-being, and that safeguarding national security is tantamount to safeguarding the personal safety and peaceful life of every Hong Kong resident.

  Secondly, without national security Hong Kong can’t possibly achieve prosperity and stability. It is imperative for Hong Kong to uphold the “rule of law” as its core value. Hong Kong is admired for being the Pearl of the Orient, an international financial center, a gourmet capital and a shopping paradise, all of which are underpinned by its reputation as the safest city in the world. Behind Hong Kong’s great success we can find a profound truth: National security and social stability are the most basic public goods and a reflection of a city’s core competitiveness. A foreign friend once remarked that he wouldn’t worry about the safety of his teen children walking home at night in Hong Kong, a scenario unimaginable in Western cities. Safety is a major factor that has contributed to Hong Kong’s competitiveness in attracting global multinational companies to set up their Asia-Pacific headquarters in the city, attracting world-class fintech and cultural/artistic talents to work here, and attracting investments and tourists from all over the world. Hong Kong should further enhance this competitive edge so as to encourage the continuous inflow of people, goods, capital and information, therefore creating more business opportunities and sustaining economic vitality for the city. This could only be made possible by maintaining people’s confidence in Hong Kong's law and order and security, and by adherence to the “rule of law” built upon the nation’s Constitution and the Basic Law. Only by jointly safeguarding national security and upholding the “rule of law” can ensure law and order for the people of Hong Kong to enjoy their lives.

  The rule of law is the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and serves as a safeguard for national security. Over the course of more than a century, the concept of rule of law has gradually taken hold and become what Hong Kong residents deem as one of their core values. According to surveys by international institutions, the special administrative region’s freedom index ranks second in the world, while its rule-of-law ranking comes second in Asia, much higher than before the 1997 handover and ahead of many Western developed countries. Safeguarding national security requires us to cherish the spirit of the rule of law, and manage national security issues in accordance with the law. The 268-pageverdict handed down by the court on the illegal campaign of “Occupy Central” sent a clear message to the local community: respect and uphold the rule of law. Under the disguise of “justice”, the illegal campaign is not only an insult to the rule of law, but also caused serious damage to Hong Kong’s rule of law with far-reaching implications. It has posed a grave challenge to the rule of law, the city core value. It alerts us to the shortfalls in legal safeguards Hong Kong faces in protecting national security. This is vital to implementing the principle of “one country, two systems”, maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, upholding the rule of law and safeguarding national security.

  Here I’d like to share a few thoughts with young people in Hong Kong. The country’s stability and progress is the first and foremost premise for Hong Kong’s prosperity and development as well as for career advancement of the city’s younger generation. The nation prospers and thrives when the younger generation prospers and thrives. When it comes to upholding the rule of law, we do pin much hope on the younger generation. Hong Kong’s young people are well informed and have active minds. They have their own thoughts and views on the country, the nation, the society and themselves. So they ought to have a deeper understanding of modern civilization and social rationality and make a greater effort in upholding the rule of law. I sincerely hope that the young people of Hong Kong will grow up to be the guardians of the city’s rule of law, of the society, and of law and order; have a better grasp of the boundaries of freedom, a greater respect for the law, a stronger belief in the rule of law so that they’ll become a powerful force in safeguarding Hong Kong’s core value and national security.

  Thirdly, the successful implementation of “one country, two systems” is impossible without national security. Here in Hong Kong, we must always keep the special administrative region’s constitutional obligation close at heart. Since the very first day of its handover, Hong Kong has been reintegrated into the country’s system of governance. The “one country” concept itself implies national security and territorial integrity. The security of Hong Kong is an integral part of national security. As a key member of the country’s governance system and as a special administrative region directly under the Central People’s Government, it is a vital constitutional obligation of Hong Kong to safeguard national security. When it comes to safeguarding national security, the special administrative region enjoys no special exemption. “One country” and “two systems” shoulder the same obligation in safeguarding national security. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor once remarked that safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests constitutes the raison d'etre of “one country, two systems”. We are pleased to see that, under the leadership of the chief executive, the government has joined efforts with the local community to acquire a deeper understanding of national security and a heightened awareness to defend it. As a result, Hong Kong is becoming more peaceful and beautiful.

  During his inspection tour of Hong Kong on July 1, 2017, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping explicitly pointed out that "any attempt to endanger national sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government and the authority of the Basic Law of the HKSAR or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line, and is absolutely impermissible". Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has also stressed on many occasions that the special administrative region government is resolute in fighting “Hong Kong independence” and in opposing external forces interfering in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, and will not tolerate any acts that cross the red line of the country. Last year, the special administrative region government banned the operation of the separatist “Hong Kong National Party” in accordance with the law. Precisely because of the SAR government’s zero tolerance on “Hong Kong independence” and thanks to the local community having a better understanding of national security, Hong Kong has witnessed a rise in positive energy in the past two years. With improved situation, Hong Kong will definitely win more opportunities, expand fresh development space, find new development impetus and scale greater heights by integrating into the nation’s overall development.

  At the same time we recall achievements, we also need to raise our risk awareness. Our country is currently coping with the most complex and capricious security environment since the end of the Cold War. Some countries are desperately trying to contain China by playing the “Hong Kong card”. A handful of individuals in Hong Kong are busy colluding with anti-China politicians and organizations by taking part in closed-door meetings and seminars, in an attempt to badmouth Hong Kong and beg for foreign intervention. These few individuals, who are paid generously in taxpayers’ money but made repeated overseas pilgrimages to sell out Hong Kong for personal gains, are set to be despised by the people of Hong Kong and the entire nation, and by the forbearers of the Chinese people.

  Hong Kong’s destiny is closely linked with that of the motherland. Where can the fur be attached if the skin exists no more, and how can one find intact eggs beneath a fallen nest? Some netizens opined that the best background one can have nowadays is China. That is also true for Hong Kong. From the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the SARS epidemic in 2003 to the global financial tsunami in 2008, the central government has demonstrated its unwavering support for Hong Kong and its people by lending a timely helping hand each time. All these historical facts bear testimony time and again to one single truth: When Hong Kong succeeds, the country will benefit from it; when the country succeeds, Hong Kong will benefit from it even more. Only by making full use of the staunch support of the motherland and integrating into the national economy can Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient, rise to the challenges of global turbulence and shine more brilliantly while sharing the great glory of a prosperous motherland.

  Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

  Looking back at the path that the country and Hong Kong have taken since the Opium War in 1840, all of us will share this strongly-felt observation: The peace and stability enjoyed by both the nation and Hong Kong are hard to come by. In a few months we will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. After having experienced a bumpy ride before entering the new era, no Chinese nationals will allow the security of our country and nation to be jeopardized once again. Anyone who calls Hong Kong home will not allow the city’s improving social atmosphere to be undermined again. We hope that the 7 million Hong Kong compatriots, who love the HKSAR and the country, will bear in mind the words of General Secretary Xi Jinping: “Believe in yourself, believe in Hong Kong and believe in the country”. Let’s continue to move forward with the same heart and in the same direction, escorting the great ship of “China” through the waves. Let us join hands to write new chapters for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the great cause of “one country, two systems”.

  Thank you very much.