Hong Kong government marks 21st anniversary of handover

Soldiers marching at a PLA barracks open day to mark the 21st anniversary of the Hong Kong handover, at Ngong Shuen Chau Naval Base in Kowloon on July 1, 2018.
Soldiers marching at a PLA barracks open day to mark the 21st anniversary of the Hong Kong handover, at Ngong Shuen Chau Naval Base in Kowloon on July 1, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Hong Kong - Speaking at the 21st anniversary of the setting up of the Special Administrative Region (SAR), Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam said her government has upheld the principle of "one country" while tapping the "two systems" policy to promote the city's international status.

Britain handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997 and the island has been operating under the guaranteed 50-year "one country, two systems" (OCTS) policy. This sees the territory retaining most of its autonomy while keeping its legal and financial systems.

On Sunday morning (July 1), Mrs Lam said her government has, without fear, taken the "right actions" in key issues including the relationship with the mainland government, as well as improve the public's understanding of the Constitution, Basic Law and national security.

She said her government tapped the "two systems" policy to join the Belt and Road Initiative, and to promote the city's standing, which involved planning for the Greater Bay Area and strengthening external ties.

"After a year of leading the government to demonstrate a new style of governance, perform new roles and implement a new fiscal philosophy, I have even greater confidence in Hong Kong," she said at a reception marking the anniversary of the handover.

The optimism is in part buoyed by Hong Kong's economy which grew 3.8 per cent year-on-year last year, and an even higher 4.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.

The city's total employment rate grew while the jobless rate fell to a 20-year low of 2.8 per cent.

 

Hong Kong is still one of the safest cities in the world, with the overall crime rate down by 8.2 per cent year-on-year in the first four months of 2018 - a new low since 1971, Mrs Lam noted.

"Economic growth provides us with the necessary resources for the continuous improvement of people's livelihood," she said, adding that housing remains her top social concern.

Under the OCTS policy, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it clear that any activities in Hong Kong seen as threatening China's sovereignty and stability would be "absolutely impermissible" - a warning the SAR is bounded by the bottom line, that is China's sovereignty.