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CPC vows to improve livelihood

Reporters raise their hands for questions during a press conference at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on Sunday. Photo: Xinhua

China will continue to implement preferential policies affecting the people’s livelihood, especially on education in underdeveloped areas, senior officials said on Sunday.

China has made progress in employment, housing, education and its social security system since 2012, especially for underdeveloped areas, officials from the ministries of civil affairs, education and other relevant departments told a press conference at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Sunday.

In the area of employment, Human Resources and Social Security Minister Yin Weimin said, “We’ve helped 8.8 million people in strained circumstances find jobs,” then adding that the total number of rural migrant workers increased from 263 million in 2012 to 282 million in 2016.

Yin said the registered unemployment rate in Chinese cities stood at 3.95 percent at the end of September, the lowest in years.

“The number of counties with subsistence standards lower than the national level has been cut from 1,521 in 2015 to 72 … and the basic standard of living of nearly 60 million people with subsistence allowances in urban and rural areas and special difficulties have been basically guaranteed,” said Huang Shuxian, Minister of Civil Affairs.

Other officials said that preferential policies in rural areas would carry on into the future to support local development.

“To repair the unbalanced, inadequate development of medicine in remote areas, we plan to begin cooperating between regions with much better medical resources and to enhance the quality of public health services,” said Li Bin, Minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

“All of these moves accord with the shift in the contradictions in Chinese society and will help solve the income gap problem between different social classes as well as regional gaps,” Hu Xingdou, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology, told the Global Times on Sunday.

General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping said in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress on Wednesday that “the principal contradiction facing Chinese society now is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and people’s growing needs for a better life.”

Xi went on to explain, “While China’s overall productive forces have improved and in many areas our production capacity leads the world, our problem is that development is unbalanced and inadequate. This has become the main constraint in meeting people’s needs for a better life.”

“Placing more importance on balanced development would help promote fairness and justice in society and would confirm the CPC’s promise to enhance people’s sense of fulfillment,” Hu concluded.

Rural education

At Sunday’s press conference, officials also singled out policies for helping children left behind in rural regions by parents going elsewhere to work, emphasizing education in remote areas.

In relation to this, Minister of Education Chen Baosheng told the press conference, “We have unreservedly promoted equity in education … we’ve provided equal treatment to urban and rural schools in infrastructure, teaching posts, public funding per student.”

Chen also said that China has improved basic school conditions for a better compulsory education in poor rural areas, benefitting nearly 220,000 schools in at least 2,600 counties.

In the area of child protection, a caring and protecting mechanism was improved for those rural left-behind children, Minister of Civil Affairs Huang Shuxian said, noting that it includes a special “joint custody and accompanied growth” method and pilot projects for the protection of minors.

Both Chen and Huang said on Sunday that there are more policies on helping child development in remote areas coming in conformity with the 19th CPC National Congress report.

Source: Global Times

Overseas infrastructure expanding

China’s investment in overseas infrastructure has expanded during the past five years from connectivity and energy to industrialization, with a notable growth in the buildup of soft infrastructure, a Chinese expert said over the weekend.

Since 2010, the overseas assets of centrally administered State-owned enterprises (SOEs) have grown at an annualized rate of 15 percent and their operating income grew at 4 percent each year, according to a statement on the website of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) in June. The statement noted that these companies have set up overseas subsidiaries in 185 countries and regions.

The scope of business has expanded from engineering projects, energy and resource exploration to areas such as high-speed railways, nuclear power, telecommunications and grid network construction, said the statement.

More sectors

Liu Ying, a research fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, said centrally administered SOEs are part of the backbone of China’s overseas infrastructure expansion, and countries and regions joining the Belt and Road initiative are the main destination.

“In addition to ports, roads and pipelines, there are more than 100 overseas economic cooperation industrial parks and cross-border economic cooperation zones globally. To allow these parks to function, usually it is the Chinese companies that lay down the infrastructure,” Liu told the Global Times on Sunday.

The Chinese infrastructure projects also invite the participation of local companies and third-party countries.

“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, for instance, involves the participation of UK firms. It helps to contain risks and makes success easier,” Liu said.

Global benefits

China Railway Construction Corp (CRCC), one of many central SOEs to have invested abroad, said in a statement e-mailed to the Global Times over the weekend that China’s engineering capacity has won worldwide recognition in terms of scale, quality, technology and standards in the past five years.

“With more and more ‘Super Projects’ going overseas, Chinese technology, solutions and wisdom are being offered to the world, and this will benefit people and boost cooperation,” the company said.

During the past five years, CRCC has conducted business in 116 countries and regions. The company took part in the construction of the Haramain High Speed Rail project in Saudi Arabia and the Ankara-Istanbul Railway in Turkey. It also completed the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, the first electrified railway in Africa to use Chinese standards across the whole industrial chain, CRCC said.

The company has more than 60,000 overseas employees, only 10,000 of whom are Chinese, the company said.

CRCC said that the volume of its foreign projects increased from $11.4 billion in 2014 to $18.8 billion to date, and the company’s Fortune 500 ranking has also risen to 58 from the previous ranking of 111.

State-owned China Communication Construction Corp (CCCC), a leading company in the infrastructure and engineering sector, said in a statement sent to the Global Times last week that it has engaged in more than 200 projects along the Belt and Road route totaling over $50 billion.

These include Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port City, Pakistan’s Gwadar Port and the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya, CCCC said.

For the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, the company is in charge of the operation and maintenance, CCCC said, noting this has set up a new model for China’s railway technology exports.

CCCC has so far built 10,320 kilometers of roads, 152 bridges, 2,080 kilometers of rail road, 10 airports, 95 deep-sea berths, and created about 100,000 local jobs, said the statement.

Liu said China is offering an integral approach in boosting trade and investment. “China wants to do business with its neighbor, so it helps that neighbor to build a road first. The focus is not on making a profit with that road; the focus is on what’s coming after that,” Liu said.

“Infrastructure is the first step, and it will be followed with trade and investment and industrial cooperation. Efforts to facilitate trade and investment also matter and soft infrastructure improvements such as bilateral agreements on boosting customs clearance and newly opened air links have also increased over the past five years,” Liu noted.

Source: Global Times

Foreign firms’ rights ensured

China will significantly ease market access, further open services sectors, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said Wednesday.

“Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind,” Xi told delegates to the 19th National Congress of the CPC, which kicked off on Wednesday in Beijing.

In his speech, Xi painted a new pattern for all-round openness of the Chinese market with measures to open up more sectors and regions to foreign investors and efforts to enhance global cooperation through the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative.

“All businesses registered in our country will be treated equally,” Xi said. “We will implement the system of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list across the board.”

The new emphasis on treating foreign-backed companies the same as their Chinese counterparts suggests a national direction to create a fair business environment, which could boost the confidence of foreign companies, according to Huo Jianguo, vice chairman of the China Society for WTO Studies.

“In order to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI), the core issue that needs to be solved currently is whether foreign-backed companies can enjoy fair treatment in the country. In this sense, the new statement in the report will help to boost confidence for foreign investors operating in the Chinese market,” Huo told the Global Times on Wednesday.

New pattern

Though China has been persistent in its efforts to open up the economy, Xi’s speech on Wednesday suggests a more comprehensive path forward, according to Tian Yun, director of the Macroeconomics Research Center’s China Society.

Tian told the Global Times that China is embracing a new pattern of comprehensive opening-up as the country pursues cooperation with countries and regions along the B&R routes.

In the speech, Xi also stressed the significance of both “bringing in” and “going global,” and called upon the country to pursue the B&R initiative as a priority.

“With these efforts, we hope to make new ground in opening up the Chinese market further through links running eastward and westward, across land and over sea,” Xi said.

Since China insists on opening up, the country will play a larger role in the international arena against the backdrop of anti-globalization trends in some Western countries, said a report from the financial research center under Bank of Communications on Wednesday.

Xi called for more efforts to enhance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and to make economic globalization “more open, inclusive and balanced so that its benefits are shared by all.”

Xi also stressed the geographic aspect of the country’s opening efforts, putting focus on further opening the western region of the country, Tian pointed out, adding that this was a shift from earlier opening efforts, which focused mostly on the coastal areas in eastern China.

Solid progress

Xi’s remarks on Wednesday came at a time when China has been making solid progress in opening the domestic market and creating a fairer and more efficient business environment, thanks to continued efforts from the government, experts noted.

On August 16, the State Council, China’s cabinet, announced a series of measures for ensuring the steady growth of foreign investment. China should make its foreign investment environment “more law-based, internationalized and convenient” to promote growth and raise the quality of foreign investment, the Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a document from the State Council.

In July, China began to implement a revised foreign investment catalogue. The 2017 catalogue reduces the number of restrictive measures for the entry of foreign investment from 93 to 63, and several industry sectors like services, manufacturing and mining are now more open to foreign capital.

China’s opening efforts have been focused on more advanced industries, given the upgrade in domestic demand, rather than bringing in low-end foreign productive forces, according to Tian.

From January to August, FDI into China’s high-tech manufacturing sector rose 15 percent year-on-year to 43.7 billion yuan ($6.6 billion), and FDI into high-tech services was 81.4 billion yuan, up 21.4 percent, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Source: Global Times

International talent magnet

More and more international talents are coming to China to find opportunities in the finance industry or to start their own businesses. The Global Times asked several expatriates working in the finance and business field why they think China is such a promising country for professionals like them. Particularly, they cited that China holds an open attitude to foreigners, has strong capital market growth and boasts convenient financial services. Meanwhile, domestic cities are aiming to develop financial sectors to attract even more talents from abroad.

Attracted by the country’s open attitude, capital growth and convenient financial services, increasing numbers of international talents have been moving to China over recent years to find life-changing opportunities.

Romy Haryanto, a 31-year-old Indonesian who has passed all three levels of the chartered financial analyst exam, is now trying his best to learn Chinese at Beijing Language and Culture University.

“I hope to get a job immediately after I can speak fluent Chinese,” he told the Global Times on Sunday.

Before coming to China to seek bigger and better opportunities, Haryanto had been gathering professional experience back home in Indonesia. For a year and a half, he worked as a stock market analyst and also worked as a consultant in a merger and acquisition firm for one year.

“I would like to work in any city that gives better opportunities than my own country, such as Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing,” he noted.

But Haryanto is not the only foreigner who hopes to pursue China’s finance industry.

Cebastien Tankoano, founder and general manager of Shanghai-based Reliconn Ltd, told the Global Times that many foreigners he knows in Shanghai work in the finance industry, especially in asset management at international financial firms.

Reliconn, founded in June 2015, provides investment, trade and training services for China’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their African counterparts.

Tankaono is from Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa, and came to China in 2006 for an MBA program.

“It’s easy to conduct business in Shanghai. The city is China’s financial center, where there are lots of international banks you can cooperate with. Thus, it’s relatively easier to get loans for Chinese SMEs that plan to invest in Africa or for African SMEs to get loans for expansion,” he said.

Growing attraction

Talking about the factors that attracted him to China, Haryanto remarked that China is more open to foreign job seekers.

“China has less restriction on foreign talents, as I search on Google that there are open events like Jobs Fair for Foreigners,” he said, noting “[for example] there are better opportunities here because the return on China’s capital market is higher than its Singaporean counterpart.”

Besides, the pay in China is much higher than in Indonesia.

“For a financial worker with 3 to 5 years of work experience in my home country, the salary is around 7 million rupiah ($519) to 12 million rupiah a month, but in China, monthly wages can be more than tens of thousands of yuan in big cities,” he said.

Abdella, a man from Africa who is now studying Chinese language, culture and international politics, told the Global Times Wednesday that “China’s fast economic growth has been significantly contributing to the world economy.”

“This has been attracting businesses and individuals from around the world. China’s financial market has also been developing fast and has even been leading the whole world in some aspects, for example, in having one of the easiest payment systems and very low transaction costs,” he said.

Smart blueprint

Many Chinese cities attach importance to introducing international financial talents, including those who have work experience in countries and regions along the Belt and Road route, as to support the initiative and to help Chinese companies “go global,” an industry insider told the Global Times on Monday.

For example, Shanghai plans to greatly improve the proportion of international talents who have studied or worked overseas during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) period, according to a guideline published by the Shanghai Financial Service Office on its official website in January, addressing the development of financial talents in the metropolis.

Shanghai aims to soon preliminarily establish a financial talent human resource system characterized by a complete range, reasonable structure and free movement. The city also aims to transform itself into an international financial talent highland of global influence, attraction and resource allocation, the guideline says.

Other cities, such as Beijing, Qingdao in East China’s Shandong Province and Foshan in South China’s Guangdong Province, also released policies to attract more international talents in the last two years.

Domestic news site xinhua08.com reported in September that Beijing plans to forge strong international talent communities in areas such as Wangjing in the northeast and Zhongguancun in the northwest to attract more overseas experts.

It said that an “overseas analogy” living environment will be developed in Wangjing and will include a government affairs services center as well as an innovation and entrepreneurship center to better serve international talents.

Bettering financial services

The growing numbers of expatriates and overseas returnees coming to work or start businesses in China has in turn triggered the need for improved financial services.

“A foreign CEO had lived in China for seven years, but still couldn’t get a credit card because he has neither a property in China nor a local credit history. But we issued a local credit card to this CEO via a unique personal credit assessment system,” Yamin Zhu, managing director and head of Retail Banking, Standard Chartered Bank China, told the Global Times on Monday.

The bank also provides a variety of wealth management products for international clients, including FX products, local mutual funds and qualified domestic institutional investor funds. “Through our bank, these clients get access to both the local market and the international capital market,” she said.

The bank heavily invests in digital capabilities to give foreign clients more choices and convenience when doing their banking. For example, the bank offers an online account opening service so foreigners can prepare the required forms and documents before coming to China, Zhu said.

Source: Global Times

 

Xi heralds ‘new era’ of socialism

The Communist Party of China (CPC) rolled out “Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” and embarked on a journey to build a “great modern socialist country” at the opening of its 19th National Congress on Wednesday.

General secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping delivered a 3.5-hour speech to the congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday morning, during which he mentioned several times a “new era” for socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Xi said the new era “will be an era of securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and of moving on to all-out efforts to build a great modern socialist country.”

The principal contradiction facing Chinese society now is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life, Xi said.

“The phrase ‘new era’ represents the changes in China after 40 years of development,” Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the Chongqing Committee, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

“And by pointing out the new contradiction in Chinese society, Xi also revealed the key emphasis of future work – more balanced development in rural and remote areas with science and technology driving the economy.”

Aside from summarizing the experience of the last five years, the report on Wednesday also serves as a guide for future action, Su said.

Xi said in the report that the CPC has drawn up a two-stage development plan from 2020 to the middle of the century.

China will see socialist modernization basically realized in the first stage from 2020 to 2035 and then become a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful from 2035 to the middle of this century, Xi noted in the report.

Congress theme

Xi said that the theme of the 19th CPC National Congress is to “remain true to our original aspirations and keep our mission firmly in mind, hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era and work together to realize tirelessly the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.”

Delegates to the Party congress said they were thrilled by the Party’s blueprint.

“The Wednesday report is one of the Party’s important documents, which inspires and unifies all efforts in China in accomplishing the two centenary goals. It demonstrates the wisdom of the whole Party and represents the common consensus of the Chinese people,” Xie Chuntao, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee and also a delegate to the Party congress, told the Global Times.

The amendment to the Party Constitution would also include “Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” the new theories of the CPC Central Committee with Xi as the core and the new accomplishment of comprehensively strengthening Party discipline, Xie noted.

The two centenary goals refer to the 2021 completion of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and turning China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by 2049.

Yan Kun, a delegate from Central China’s Hubei Province, said that the report encouraged her and other science researchers to combine their careers with the future development of the Party and the nation.

Yang Qiongying, a delegate from Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, told the Global Times that as an educator from a remote area, she was impressed by the emphasis on balanced education in the report as this would benefit children in remote and poor areas.

Millions of Chinese people watched the live broadcast of the opening of the 19th CPC National Congress on Wednesday. Many local governments, Party committees and enterprises organized their Party members and employees to listen to Xi’s report.

“We are inspired by the speech at the 19th National Congress,” Li Quancai, the secretary of the Party Committee in Jinfeng district in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

“The conclusion on the evolving principal contradiction is responding to people’s yearning for a better life and setting a higher threshold for balancing developments in different areas, narrowing the income gap and creating a fairer and more just environment.”

Source: Global Times

Beijing residents’ life expectancy hits 82.03 years, higher than high-income countries

Beijing residents’ life expectancy reached 82.03 years in 2016, which is higher than the 80.8 years average of high-income countries and regions in the world, according to Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family planning, Beijing News reported on Oct. 16.

Beijingers’ life expectancy is only lower than 13 countries and regions in the world, including Iceland, Japan, and Switzerland, according to the commission.

The increase of 4.57 years between 2000 and 2016 is mainly attributed to the lower mortality rate among the city’s middle aged and elderly, said Yu Jianping at the Beijing Center for Diseases Prevention and Control.

Commission Spokesperson Gao Xiaojun said Beijing has made great efforts in the past few years to prevent chronic diseases, promote healthy lifestyles, and strengthen public health literacy.

Gao disclosed that the number of smokers in Beijing dropped to 4 million from 4.2 million since a smoking ban was introduced in the city in 2015, adding that various smoking cessation services will also be launched in the future.

Moreover, the city has provided free screening and intervention for cerebral apoplexy and other chronic diseases for residents aged 45 and older since 2010.

More fitness facilities will be built in the city, free for students, the elderly, and disabled to use in order to increase people’s health literacy, according to Gao.

According to the commission’s “Healthy Beijing 2030” plan, Beijing residents’ life expectancy will exceed 83.4 years by 2030.

China cultivates international talents in catering industry to promote Chinese cuisine

China is actively cultivating talents in the catering industry through international cooperation for China’s catering enterprises to go global, according to Jiang Junxian, president of the China Cuisine Association, China News reported on Oct. 14.

With 200,000 Chinese restaurants in more than 180 countries and regions, international talents in the catering industry are badly needed, Jiang said in a statement at an international forum on vocational education in China’s hotels and catering industry held in Chongqing on Oct. 14.

China’s catering industry revenue exceeded 2.5 trillion RMB ($380 billion) in the first eight months of 2017 and is expected to reach 3.9 to 4 trillion RMB this year, Jiang said.

A large number of catering businesses wanting to expand overseas are in sore need of international talents, said Jiang, adding that open education should be adopted to cultivate talents for the enterprises.

At present, a multitude of vocational schools in China have established collaborative relationships with their foreign peers to cultivate the talents.

Thomas Guglar, president of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, noted at the forum that China has the world’s largest catering market with various cooking methods, saying he also hopes Chinese cuisine could go global.

Shandong villagers create pattern with corn to mark upcoming 19th CPC National Congress

Villagers of a village in Liaocheng City, east China’s Shandong Province, created a pattern with corn on Oct. 15 to mark the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) that will convene on Oct. 18.

The pattern was made to mark opening of the 19th CPC National Congress as well as to express their best wishes for national prosperity.

The village’s grain cooperatives reaped a bumper harvest this year, with the corn yield per mu reaching 650 kilograms.

Rapid growth seen in IC industry

China’s integrated circuit (IC) industry has seen rapid growth in the past five years in terms of technological advancement and the rising number of companies in the sector, thanks to the government’s strong support as well as an increase in international cooperation, experts said on Tuesday.

Chinese companies are narrowing the technology gap with their foreign counterparts in producing highly complex semiconductors and have been expanding fast in overseas markets, they noted.

The number of IC design companies in China almost doubled in 2016 to 1,300, Liu Kun, vice general manager of the IC Industry Research Center at CCID Consulting, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Domestic companies such as Shanghai-listed Hangzhou Silan Integrated Circuit Co, a leading integrated device manufacturer (IDM) in China, are making progress in IC production.

Silan has been accelerating the development of an 8-inch chip production line, which is expected to produce 15,000 chips a month at the end of this year and 40,000 units each month at the end of 2018, according to a statement the company sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.

“With the establishment of the new production line, our company’s gap with global IDMs in terms of equipment will be gradually narrowed,” said Chen Yue, board secretary of the firm.

China has made breakthroughs in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) chips and power supply chips.

For example, on September 2, Huawei launched the Kirin 970 AI chip, which can perform the same AI computing tasks faster and use far less power.

This technology has reached the international level, Wang Yanhui, head of the Shanghai-based Mobile China Alliance, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, domestic semiconductor companies have been entering overseas markets with a slew of mergers and acquisitions.

Beijing Jianguang Asset Management Co bought the Standard Products business of NXP Semiconductors for approximately $2.75 billion in February this year, the largest deal ever initiated by Chinese capital in the semiconductor industry.

In addition, China has become increasingly attractive over the years to foreign companies and Chinese talent overseas.

For example, South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics Co announced in August a $7 billion investment in Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province to enlarge output.

“With the fast development of the sector and optimization of the domestic business environment, many Chinese people working in the IC industry overseas have started to return to China and set up businesses,” Liu said.

Strong support

The growth of China’s domestic IC industry has been boosted by strong policy support from the government.

In June 2014, the State Council, China’s cabinet, issued the Integrated Circuit Industry Development Promotion Guidelines. The China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund was established in September the same year, according to Liu.

The guidelines focused on efforts to accelerate the development of the IC industry and make breakthroughs in key IC equipment and materials as well as in design and testing.

The fund, whose first-phase investment scale was 120 billion yuan, drove domestic IC companies’ development, as well as supporting their global expansion, Liu said.

China has also issued other policies to boost the industry, including improved market conditions and lowered burdens on high-tech firms.

Despite efforts to improve the country’s IC industry, domestic industrial supply still cannot fully meet the needs, said Chen from Silan.

“The European, US and Japanese companies’ dominance of IC technologies and equipment curbs the development of the domestic high-end IC industry, resulting in our country’s heavy reliance on imported chips,” he said.

Data from the General Administration of Customs showed that China’s imports of IC products reached 1.5 trillion yuan in 2016, ranking No.1 among all the items imported last year.

“By taking advantage of China’s vast electronics market, the government and industry associations should continue to boost cooperation between IC firms and downstream electronic terminal corporations. Related sectors such as IC materials and equipment should also be improved,” Liu said.

Since IC is a technology-intensive industry, where capital is not enough to make technological breakthroughs, domestic companies should attract talent and optimize their management to catch up with the leading global semiconductor companies, Wang said.

Source: Global Times

CPC successfully deals with emerging issues in Hong Kong, Macao

The principle of “one country, two systems” and the rule of law must be insisted upon in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions to assure the progress that has been made during the past five years, experts said Tuesday.

“The past five years witnessed unprecedented challenges in work related to Hong Kong and Macao, especially Hong Kong,” read an article published by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council in Qiushi Journal, the flagship magazine of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

The article said that by firmly sticking to the “one country, two systems” principle, the Party successfully dealt with problems that emerged during these years while maintaining the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and Macao.

It added that the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has firmly defended national sovereignty, security and interests when dealing with Hong Kong and Macao affairs since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012.

“‘One country, two systems’ lays the foundation of Hong Kong’s and Macao’s stability and development. However, the principle was challenged by several incidents in recent years,” Zhao Lei, a professor from the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

During the Occupy Central movement in 2014, Hong Kong students boycotted classes, hit the police and broke into the Hong Kong government headquarters, paralyzing the transportation system of the Asian financial hub and disturbing the normal life of residents.

In the most recent case, pro-independence posters appeared at Hong Kong universities in September. Pro- and anti-independence students confronted each other over each other’s posters.

The problem emerging in recent years is because Hong Kong’s status as an international financial hub has been challenged by the fast-growing Chinese mainland. Some people in Hong Kong felt the gap and blame the mainland for the situation, Zhao said.

“The central government, however, is striving to provide Hong Kong with opportunities for its development. For example, the economy of Hong Kong which serves as the ‘super-connector’ of the Chinese mainland with other countries, will see a great leap by harnessing the opportunity of the Belt and Road initiative,” Zhang Dinghuai, a professor at the Contemporary Chinese Politics Research Institute of Shenzhen University, told the Global Times.

At the Fifth Session of the 12th National People’s Congress of China in March, Premier Li Keqiang said the central government will draw up plans for the development of a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to capitalize on the distinctive strengths of Hong Kong and Macao, elevating their roles in the development and opening-up of China’s economy.

Cheerful prosperity

The Qiushi article also said that people in Hong Kong and Macao are cheerful about the country’s prosperity, proud of being Chinese, sincerely respect the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core and full of expectations for the Chinese Dream.

Despite the disagreement of a small group of Hongkongers, the majority are welcoming and have benefited from the “one country, two systems” principle. They feel deeply connected to the motherland, Zhao said.

In July, China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning held an open house in Hong Kong for the 20th anniversary celebrations of the region’s return to the motherland, attracting over 4,000 visitors and triggered a souvenir-buying spree.

The rule of law and enhancing people-to-people exchanges are also important for dissolving potential threats, the experts said.

Source: Global Times