Premier Li Keqiang underlined on Sunday that the central government’s determination to oppose pro-independence forces in Hong Kong, stressing that calls for Hong Kong independence “will lead nowhere”.
It was the first time that Li publicly condemned the notion of Hong Kong independence in his annual work report.
Li made the remarks in his report to the opening session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Sunday morning.
“The notion of Hong Kong independence will lead nowhere,” Li said, adding, “We will promote closer cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macau.”
The premier, who paid an inspection visit to Macau in October, also said, “We have always had full confidence about ensuring lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macau.”
The premier’s work report also included a new phrase, according to which the central government will ensure that the One Country, Two Systems principle is resolutely applied “without being bent or distorted”.
It was the first time that the concept of applying the Basic Law of Hong Kong “without being bent or distorted”, a phrase reportedly coined by President Xi Jinping, has been mentioned in the premier’s annual work report.
Li pledged that the central government will continue to implement, “both to the letter and in spirit”, the principle of One Country, Two Systems, under which Hong Kong people govern Hong Kong and Macau people govern Macau.
The premier also promised that the central government will continue to act in “strict compliance” with the Chinese Constitution and the Basic Laws of Hong Kong and Macau.
The premier also reaffirmed the central government unwavering support to the chief executives and governments of Macau and Hong Kong in carrying out “law-based governance, growing their economies, improving people’s livelihood, advancing democracy and promoting social harmony.”
Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On and his Hong Kong counterpart Leung Chun-ying attended the opening session, as did Edmund Ho Hau Wah, Macau’s first chief executive, now a vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
The premier also said that the central government would give full play to the “distinctive strengths” of Hong Kong and Macau and strengthen their respective roles in the nation’s economic development.
Li’s report also mentioned the central government’s plan to develop a “city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area”.
(Macau News / The Macau Post Daily)