For the benefit of Hong Kong's constitutional development, it is important to reflect carefully on the issues of principle recently raised by the central government, said Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa on Friday.
Speaking to the media, Tung said, "only if constitutional development in Hong Kong complies with these principles can we ensure the successful implementation of 'one country, two systems,' safeguard the well-being of Hong Kong people and maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong."
Tung said the principles spelt out by the central government, including "one country, two systems," Hong Kong people running Hong Kong, a high degree of autonomy, executive-led, and balanced participation, are very important.
Tung expressed his hope that all sectors of the Hong Kong community will seriously consider these issues in a forward-looking, calm and rational manner, while holding on to love for the country and Hong Kong.
"Constitutional development must also accord with the principles of gradual and orderly progress and fully reflect the actual situation in Hong Kong," he said.
Tung said "Hong Kong people running Hong Kong" means that patriots must form the main body governing it.
"There are specific criteria for a patriot. A patriot respects one's own nation, sincerely supports 'one country, two systems' and does not do anything that would harm our country or Hong Kong," he said.
Two Hong Kong newspapers also republished on Friday Deng Xiaoping's "one country, two systems" theory.
The newspaper Wen Wei Po commented that the two most important contents of Deng's remarks concern the "one country, two systems" and the administration of Hong Kong by the people of Hong Kong. The paper said we must grasp clearly the principle of "one country, two systems" to conduct Hong Kong constitutional development.
The Takungpao Daily said that Deng's remarks in 1984 were well received by the Hong Kong public and reflected the central government's confidence on Hong Kong's future. Now 20 years later, the central government has stuck to the same principles on Hong Kong and nobody has been allowed to disturb the policy.
(China Daily February 21, 2004)