A grand reception was held in Hong Kong on Wednesday in celebration of the 59th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
"This has been a year of joy and sorrow for our country, a year of mixed feelings for all Chinese people," said Donald Tsang, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, when delivering a speech at a reception in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.
He cited the devastating earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province, saying "we shared the sadness of the victims, but we were uplifted by the great strength and unity displayed by the whole nation in its aftermath."
He pointed to the fact that rising from grief, the Chinese people made history with the successful hosting of the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in China, and that Chinese athletes won a record of 51 Olympic and 89 Paralympic gold medals.
The equestrian events co-hosted by Hong Kong were also a success, he said.
He also mentioned the Shenzhou-VII spacecraft which was launched successfully last week, noting that the space walk conducted for the first time marked another historic breakthrough in the country's history of space exploration.
"I am sure that having been through these trials and tests, we have emerged even stronger to face the challenges ahead, and to make greater contributions to our country's future. As we face the financial crisis, such tenacity and perseverance are particularly meaningful to us," he said.
The year 2008 is also the 30th anniversary of the reform and opening-up of the country, said Tsang, noting that Hong Kong has played an irreplaceable role in China's "going out" process, a role that will be further enhanced in the years to come.
Apart from providing capital and human resources, Hong Kong, as a global financial center and services hub, has provided a platform for the country to engage with the world.
"We will continue to play a pivotal role in the reform and opening-up of the country," he said.
Hong Kong has undoubtedly enjoyed a wide range of benefits from the Mainland's policies, and its rapid economic growth, he said.
"We must seize every opportunity to extend areas of co-operation and to complement each other's strengths to meet the new challenges of global economic integration," he said.
The reception was attended by more than 3,000 people, including senior governmental officials and foreign diplomats stationed in Hong Kong.
(Xinhua News Agency October 1, 2008)