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Hu, Wen Pledge Firm Support for Tung
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday pledged firm support for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government led by Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa.

Meeting with Tung on separate occasions in Beijing, Hu and Wen emphasized that the Central Government will, as always, adhere to the fundamental policies of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, and implement the Basic Law of the HKSAR.

They pledged that the Central Government will make concerted efforts to support the HKSAR government led by Tung to rule the region according to law, be firm in safeguarding social stability in Hong Kong, and try its best to help Hong Kong's economic recovery so as to realize long-term prosperity and development.

Hu, who is also General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said at the meeting that the Central Government is very concerned with the recent situation in the HKSAR.

Since Hong Kong returned to China six years ago, the Central Government has fully implemented the fundamental policies of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, and has acted strictly in accordance with the Basic Law, Hu said.

The Central Government has not interfered with affairs within the scope of the HKSAR's autonomy, has fully supported the HKSAR to overcome diverse risks and difficulties.

"All of this, carried out by the Central Government, is conducive to maintaining prosperity and stability in Hong Kong," the president said.

Maintaining prosperity and stability in Hong Kong is not only the common aspiration of the Central Government and the people of the motherland, but also concerned the well-being of the broad masses of Hong Kong people.

"Only by maintaining social stability can Hong Kong preserve a sound business environment, keep its features as a free port and its status as an international financial, trade and shipping center, thus creating favorable conditions for economic recovery and further development," Hu said.

He called on the HKSAR government and people from all walks of life to make concerted efforts toward the major issues concerning the well-being of the compatriots in Hong Kong.

According to Hu, it is a necessary part of implementing the Basic Law that the HKSAR independently drafts the law to safeguard national security and reunification, and drafting such a law is also the responsibility of the HKSAR has to fulfill as a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China.

Hu said he is aware the HKSAR government had decided to consult the public again over the relevant law draft.

"I am confident the legislation will gain understanding, support and recognition of the broad masses of people in Hong Kong after careful and extensive consultation," said the president.

Hu said that as chief executive of the HKSAR, Tung was elected by an election committee consisting on personages representing all walks of life Hong Kong and appointed by the Central Government.

He praised Tung for his hard work for Hong Kong and the country with a great sense of mission and responsibility.

Over the past six years, Tung has led the HKSAR government and united the broad masses of compatriots who love the country and Hong Kong in meeting calmly the challenges brought by the Asian financial crisis, changed external economic conditions and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic.

"Tung has made the great contributions to successfully implementing the 'one country, two systems' policy and in maintaining prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. The Central Government firmly supports the HKSAR government to govern the region according to law," said President Hu.

"The political system in the HKSAR must, in accordance with the stipulation laid out in the Basic Law and the actual situation in Hong Kong, develop step by step," he said.

Hu said he agreed to Tung's recent proposal to improve government administration, and focus on the economy and the livelihood of the people.

He expressed confidence that under the leadership of Tung, the HKSAR government will be able to do a good job in unifying consensus, focusing attention on social changes and the opinions of local people, and improving government administration.

The president stressed that the HKSAR is a local administrative region of the People's Republic of China, where the policies of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong People governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy are implemented.

"Hong Kong belongs to China and the people of Hong Kong. We are strongly opposed to the attempt of any foreign forces and other forces from outside to interfere in the internal affairs of Hong Kong," the Chinese president said, adding that maintaining prosperity and stability in Hong Kong conforms with the benefits of investors from different countries and of the international community at large.

Hu said implementing the "one country, two systems" policy in Hong Kong is a brand-new cause. The Central Government and HKSAR government will continue exploration and summarize experience so as to promote the smooth development of this great cause in Hong Kong.

The determination and sincerity of the Central Government to carry out the basic policies of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong People governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy have been proved by all the practice since Hong Kong returned to China, and have been generally recognized by the international community, he said.

The president expressed full confidence in the HKSAR government headed by Tung and the people of Hong Kong, saying, "as long as the HKSAR government and the people of Hong Kong unite as one and make concerted efforts, the current economic difficulties will be overcome and a bright future will be ushered in."

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, at his meeting with Tung, also emphasized the necessity of safeguarding social stability, striving hard to develop the economy and improving the livelihood of Hong Kong people.

"This is the fundamental way to resolve all the problems facing Hong Kong at present," said the premier, who described the achievements of the HKSAR government has made in various fields as “hard-won" over the past six years.

There are many reasons for the current difficulties in Hong Kong's economy, he said. To overcome these difficulties, it is imperative to maintain a stable social environment, and it is necessary that the compatriots in Hong Kong and the HKSAR government work hard together and make unremitting efforts.

The premier said that the Central Government always places great importance on economic issues in Hong Kong and has rendered support accordingly, while dealing with Hong Kong affairs according to the "one country, two systems" policy and the Basic Law.

Currently, all Central Government departments concerned and relevant localities in the mainland are working hard to implement the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between the mainland and Hong Kong signed last month, Wen told Tung.

The premier promised to further open the mainland market to Hong Kong in areas including value-added telecom services, tourism and financial services, based on the CEPA.

"The Central Government will give full support to all things that will benefit the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and be conducive to the common development in Hong Kong and the mainland," said Wen.

"The great socialist motherland will always be a strong force backing the development and progress in Hong Kong."

(China Daily July 20, 2003)

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