BEIJING – Hundreds of senior members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) concluded a key meeting in Beijing on Thursday with a promise to protect the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, which has been rocked by months of unrest, and Macau, which is widely seen as one of the world’s most peaceful areas.
The Fourth Plenum of the Party’s Central Committee was a closed-door meeting of 371 high-ranking CPC officials where the country’s future direction was discussed, and this week’s session was the first since February 2018. CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping presided over the four-day meeting.
In the communique published on Thursday, the party warned that the nation is “facing a complicated situation of significantly increased risks and challenges domestically and abroad”.
Hong Kong has been rocked by months of anti-government protests, rioting, arson attacks and vandalism.
In response, Thursday’s communique said the plenum proposed “upholding and improving” the system of “One Country, Two Systems”, without giving more specific details.
The special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau “must be governed in strict accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law, and the longterm prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau should be safeguarded,” it said.
The communique also urged the nation’s two SARs to improve their legal systems and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security.
The communique also said that “One Country, Two Systems” is “an important system for the party to lead the people to achieve peaceful reunification of the motherland and a great pioneering work for socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
The communique also vowed to uphold and improve the implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and to promote the peaceful reunification of the motherland.
According to the Macau Post Daily, promoting the peaceful reunification of the motherland was a key theme of the plenum, particularly with regard to Taiwan; “We must firmly advance the process of peaceful reunification of the motherland, improve institutional arrangements and policy measures to promote cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation, deepen cross-Strait integrated development, safeguard the well-being of Taiwan compatriots, and unite the large numbers of Taiwan compatriots to jointly oppose ‘Taiwan independence’ and promote reunification”, the communique said.
The plenum also said the party and the people “must more tightly unite around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core”.
Despite its mention of increased “risks and challenges” abroad, the communique was notably silent on the ongoing US-China trade spat.
Beijing and Washington have exchanged blows for over a year, with tariffs now impacting hundreds of billions of US dollars in two-way trade.
Many of the country’s most significant policies have been announced after plenum meetings, with the last one in February 2018 focused on a reform plan for state institutions, giving even more power to the party.
The one before that approved the scrapping of presidential term limits, allowing Xi to stay in office indefinitely.