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Spokesperson of the Embassy sends a letter to The Jakarta Post on Hong Kong's democracy, rule of law and society development during the last 20 years

On 4 July, Mr. Xu Hangtian, Counselor and Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Indonesia sent a letter to The Jakarta Post, refuted the commentary written by Hong Kong’s last governor, Mr. Chris Patten, as well as other relevant reports. Xu introduced the great achievements made by Hong Kong in the areas of democracy, the rule of law, economy and society during the last 20 years since Hong Kong returned to the motherland, and reaffirmed that the Chinese central government will firmly implement the "one country, two systems" policy, and continue to support the development in Hong Kong. Full text as follows:

A Letter to the Chief Editor of The Jakarta Post

In response to The Jakarta Post June 30 commentary entitled “China’s Hong Kong at 20 struggles to win trust” by Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong, together with coverage by western media on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, I wish to make some clarifications of the unfounded and misleading arguments.

On 1 July 1997, the over 100 years of British colonial rule came to an end and Hong Kong returned to its motherland. Hence, it began a new era under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” and “Hong Kong People Administering Hong Kong”. Under the British colonial rule, all the successive governors, including Chris Patten himself, were appointed by the British King or Queen. Yet the 20 years since Hong Kong’s return to China have witnessed steady development of democracy in Hong Kong. The Selection Committee for the Chief Executive Election has grown from 400 members in 1997 to 1,200 members now. So, between a governor appointed by monarch and a chief executive elected by representatives of the residents, which one is more representative of the public will and more democratic? I think the answer is self-evident.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. And no one cares more about the future of Hong Kong than the Chinese government and its people. We are open to outside opinions that are conducive to the lasting stability and prosperity of Hong Kong. Yet in this 21st century, the mentality of a few people still belong to the past century or even the colonial era. They refuse to recognize the absence of democracy in Hong Kong prior to 1997 or the successful practice of “One Country, Two Systems” thereafter.

Facts speak louder than words. With strong support from the central government over the past 20 years, the Hong Kong SAR Government and its 7 million residents successfully coped with the Asian financial crisis(1998), SARS outbreak(2003) and international financial crisis(2008). Hong Kong has emerged stronger and more prosperous. Its GDP has doubled in size. The unemployment rate in recent years has remained below 3.5%. The life expectancy of man and woman reached 81.2 and 87.3 years, both of which are among the highest in the world. Hong Kong continues to serve as an international financial, trade and shipping hub. It has been rated as the freest economy worldwide for 23 consecutive years by the American Heritage Foundation. Hong Kong was also ranked as the world’s most competitive economy for the second consecutive year, according to the 2017 World Competitiveness Report, published by the Lausanne School of Management in Switzerland.

As the legal system of Hong Kong remains fundamentally intact, its rule of law continues to improve thanks to the successful implementation of “The Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR of the People’s Republic of China”. Now its judicial independence is ranked among top globally. According to the 2016 Worldwide Governance Indicators published by the World Bank, multiple indicators of governance of the HKSAR such as political stability, government effectiveness, the rule of law, corruption prevention, rights for expression and accountability are much higher than those before Hong Kong’s return to motherland. The successful practice of “One Country, Two Systems” has won trust from the majority of Hong Kong residents as well as the international community.

The democratic progress, stability and prosperity of Hong Kong over the past 20 years have proven that “One Country, Two Systems” not only to be the best solution to this historical issue, but also the best arrangement for Hong Kong to overcome challenges and achieve long-term prosperity and stability. As recently remarked by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Central Government will continue to support the development and livelihood in Hong Kong. With all sectors of the society of Hong Kong, the Central Government will sum up the experience and map out the future to ensure the long-term success of “One Country, Two Systems”. Unlike Mr Chris Patten, we have full confidence in the future of Hong Kong.

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