The China Times

China’s Hong Kong Commissioner elaborates on system to ensure prosperity, stability

July 17, 2014

song-zheChina’s central government has spared no efforts to support Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and will continue the endeavor through its work in foreign affairs, says Song Zhe, the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) in an article written for South China Morning Post. The article was published titled “Protection system” on Thursday in the newspaper’s print edition.

Following is the full text of the article:

Protection system

The white paper on the practice of the “one country, two systems” policy in Hong Kong, released by the State Council recently, made a comprehensive review of Hong Kong’s progress since the handover in its efforts to expand its external ties and gain a competitive edge in the world.

Foreign affairs is an important symbol of state sovereignty and a key component of the central authority’s exercise of jurisdiction over Hong Kong in accordance with the law. The commissioner’s office has all along implemented earnestly the central authority’s principles and policies on foreign affairs related to Hong Kong. We do our utmost to support Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

Having served in Hong Kong for over two years now, I feel deeply that a lot cries out to be done to serve the interests of Hong Kong. It is a joy to make a modest contribution to its continued development, and to the protection of lawful rights of fellow Hongkongers.

Over the past 17 years, the central government has successfully supported Hong Kong in expanding external exchanges and cooperation. The city’s international influence is on the rise. It is poised to be one of the world’s most free, dynamic and prosperous economies.

From the 1997 Asian financial crisis, to the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic and the international financial crisis in 2008, whenever risks or challenges face Hong Kong, the central government has always given the city firm support. Efforts are made in Hong Kong-related foreign affairs to ensure its economic and social development, and to keep and lift its position as a world financial, trade and shipping center.

For 17 years, these efforts have been fruitful. Some of them are well known to the people of Hong Kong while others may be less well-known, and they include the following.

The central government authorizes Hong Kong to sign agreements with many countries on matters such as the avoidance of double taxation, trade promotion and protection, and criminal judicial assistance. Thanks to the central government’s push, the Hague Conference on Private International Law opened its Asia-Pacific regional office in Hong Kong. All this provides a strong legal guarantee for Hong Kong to develop external cooperation.

Hong Kong has attended over 1,400 international conferences as a member of the Chinese government delegation. It has participated in over 20,000 international conferences not limited to states, in the name of “Hong Kong, China”. Chinese embassies and consulates abroad have used a lot of resources to promote Hong Kong and increase the international community’s understanding of and cooperation with Hong Kong.

The central government gives strong support to Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, Observatory director Shun Chi-ming and other Hongkongers to successfully run for key posts at international organizations. Hong Kong is proud of them. The nation is proud of them. Today, holders of the Hong Kong SAR passport can travel visa- free or visa on arrival to 150 countries and regions. Their international travel is more convenient than ever before.

The well-being of fellow Hongkongers has always been a concern of the central government. Whenever they meet difficulty or danger, leaders attach great importance to providing swift assistance and helping them out of difficult situations. The evacuation of Chinese workers in Libya, and the responses to the Manila hostage crisis, the hot-air balloon disaster in Egypt and the recent violent protests in Vietnam targeting Hong Kong businesses, are all testament to this. The central government has handled more than 10,000 cases related to consular protection of fellow Hongkongers.

Hong Kong people want to know more about foreign affairs. Hong Kong students want to broaden their horizons and develop themselves. For that purpose, the commissioner’s office has held a variety of activities such as a foreign affairs knowledge contest, foreign affairs summer camp, an open house day and a diplomatic forum. All aim to enable fellow Hongkongers to gain experience of the nation’s diplomacy, and more understanding of the nation’s international standing and role.

Over the past 17 years, Hong Kong has become even more favored internationally. Some 124 countries have set up consular missions in Hong Kong. More and more international organizations and multinational companies have set up offices or regional headquarters here. This benefits from the central government’s promotion as well as the Hong Kong SAR government’s hard work.

Moreover, it shows vividly that the international community is confident in China, Hong Kong, and “one country, two systems”.

Hong Kong’s return to the motherland makes Hongkongers proud of being their own masters, and enables them to share with mainlanders the honor of being part of an increasingly strong nation. For 17 years, the successful implementation of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong reveals one important thing. Hong Kong’s past was closely connected with the nation’s destiny; its future will rely on the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We firmly oppose any outside interference or involvement in Hong Kong’s affairs in any way.

Hong Kong is now at a new starting point in its development. To remain competitive in the world, fellow Hongkongers need to work in synergy, strive forward, cherish and make good use of the precious opportunities that come with the nation’s comprehensive deepening of reform.

Hong Kong needs to participate in national development at a higher plane to seek a broader space for the future. The nation’s foreign affairs work will continue to protect the vital interests of fellow Hongkongers, broaden Hong Kong’s international exchanges, increase its international influence, and promote its long-term prosperity and stability.

Song Zhe


一国两制”是香港繁荣稳定的重要保障

不久前,国务院新闻办发表关于《“一国两制”在香港特别行政区的实践》白皮书,其中对香港回归以来不断扩大对外交往、加强国际竞争优势进行了全面梳理和总结。

外交是国家主权的重要象征,也是中央依法对香港行使管治权的重要组成部分。作为外交部驻港机构,驻港公署始终认真贯彻落实中央涉港外交方针政策,全力支持香港繁荣稳定大局。我来港工作已两年多,最深的感受是服务香港的任务越来越重,但我和我的同事们为能促进香港持续发展、维护香港同胞合法权益贡献自己的绵薄之力而感到欣慰。

17年来,中央政府全力支持香港扩大对外联系与合作,这一交往提升了香港在国际上的影响力,确保了香港稳居世界上最自由、最有活力和最繁荣的经济体榜单。

正如中央政府在香港面临1997年亚洲金融危机、2003年非典疫情和2008年国际金融危机等风险挑战时给予坚定支持那样,涉港外交工作为保证香港经济社会发展,巩固和提升香港国际金融、贸易、航运中心地位全力以赴保驾护航。17年来,涉港外交取得的丰硕成果,有些为香港同胞所耳熟能详,有些则可能并不为其所知,这包括:

中央政府授权香港与多国签署避免双重征税、促进和保护投资、刑事司法协助等协定,并成功推动海牙国际私法会议在香港设立亚太区域办事处,为香港开展对外合作提供了有力法律保障。

香港以中国政府代表团成员身份出席了1400多次国际会议,以“中国香港”名义参加了不以国家为单位的国际会议2万余次。中国驻外使领馆动用大量资源,积极对外推介香港,增进国际社会对香港的深入了解与广泛合作。

中央政府鼎力支持包括陈冯富珍女士、岑智明先生在内的香港同胞成功竞选国际组织重要职位,他们是香港的骄傲,也是国家的骄傲。

如今,香港特区护照持有者可以免签或落地签抵达150个国家或地区,广大香港同胞出外旅行更加便利。

中央政府始终把香港同胞的冷暖安危放在心上,每当他们在海外遇到困难和危险,中央领导人均高度重视,指示相关部门在第一时间提供支援,帮助香港同胞脱离困境。这在利比亚撤侨、“8.23”人质事件、埃及热气球事故和不久前越南发生针对港商的暴力事件中均得到了体现。据初步统计,17年来,中央政府处理涉及香港同胞领事保护案已逾万起。

为增进香港民众对外交知识的了解,拓展香港学生的国际视野,提升香港青年的综合素质,外交部驻港公署通过举办外交知识竞赛、外交夏令营、公署开放日和外交论坛等形式多样的活动,让香港同胞体验国家外交,感知祖国在国际上的地位和作用。

17年来,香港的国际吸引力不断增强。迄今已有124个国家在香港设立领事机构,越来越多的国际组织和跨国公司在港设立办事处或地区总部。这不仅是中央政府推动和特区政府努力的结果,更是国际社会对中国、对香港、对“一国两制”富有信心的生动反映。

香港回归祖国,既让广大香港同胞感受到当家作主的自豪,也让他们能够与内地民众一道分享祖国日益强大的荣耀。17年来,“一国两制”在香港得到成功实施的一个重要启示是,香港的历史与国家的命运紧密相连,香港的未来寄于中华民族的伟大复兴。我们坚决反对任何外部势力以任何方式干预和介入香港事务。

香港的发展正处于新的起点。香港要在国际竞争中保持优势,需要广大香港同胞齐心协力,开拓进取,珍惜和利用国家全面深化改革带来的机遇,在更高层次参与国家发展,为香港未来谋求更加广阔的空间。国家外交将一如既往地维护香港同胞切身利益,扩大香港对外交往,提升香港国际影响,为保持香港长期繁荣稳定继续作出贡献。

宋哲

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