The report delivered by Xi Jinping on Sunday at the opening of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing came at a pivotal point with China embarking on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects.
Unveiling the blueprint for building a modern socialist China in all respects, Xi devoted an entire division of his report to highlighting the importance of "One Country, Two Systems."
"This policy must be adhered to over the long term," he vowed, eliminating doubts and misunderstandings about the future of "One Country, Two Systems."
'Best institutional arrangement'
The past decade has witnessed historic progress and changes in China's drive to materialize the vision of "One Country, Two Systems" in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Macao Special Administrative Region.
The SARs' legal systems and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security have been established. The law on safeguarding national security in the HKSAR was enacted, while the region's electoral system was also refined. Macao also started proceedings to amend its law on safeguarding national security.
In his report, Xi applauded "One Country, Two Systems" as great innovation of socialism with Chinese characteristics. "It has proven to be the best institutional arrangement for ensuring sustained prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao after their return to the motherland."
He affirmed the principle of "the people of Hong Kong administering Hong Kong and the people of Macao administering Macao" and a high level of autonomy for the two SARs.
Stressing Xi's report served as a guideline for future actions of the SARs, John Lee, chief executive of the HKSAR, said he was encouraged by the report's rich content on "One Country, Two Systems," Hong Kong and Macao affairs as it reveals the great importance that the central government attaches to work related to the SARs and "One Country, Two Systems."
Lee said the country has always been the strongest backing for the HKSAR in the past five years when the city has gone through the most severe test since its return to the motherland.
Chief Executive of the Macao SAR Ho Iat Seng also hailed that Xi's report has given a clear direction to Macao for the successful practice of "One Country, Two Systems."
He noted the report "illustrated that the central government places great importance in, and is cordial regarding its care for 'One Country, Two Systems,'" and greatly bolstered Macao residents' confidence in the city's development.
Integrating into national development
In his report, Xi pledged to help the two regions resolve the deep-rooted and conflictual problems encountered in the course of their development, stressing efforts will be made to support Hong Kong and Macao in better integrating themselves into national overall development.
A key step for advancing "One Country, Two Systems" as well as a vital entry point for the two SARs to integrate themselves into the country's overall development has been the development plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), which was planned and advanced by Xi himself.
The GBA is comprised of the two SARs, and nine cities in neighboring Guangdong Province. The total area is around 56,000 square kilometers, and covers around 6 percent of the Chinese population.
Over the past years, the GBA has swiftly turned plans into actions. A one-hour living circle has been basically formed within the GBA with the construction and operation of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, and other cross-river channels connecting the Pearl (Zhujiang) River estuary's eastern and western banks. The total mileage of rail lines in service in the GBA has reached nearly 2,500 kilometers.
In 2021, the number of GBA companies on the Fortune Global 500 list amounted to 25, compared with 17 in 2017, which also surpassed the New York Bay Area for the first time.
The GBA's GDP hit 12.6 trillion yuan ($1.97 trillion) last year, 2.4 trillion yuan more than in 2017. With less than 1 percent of the country's land mass, the GBA created 12 percent of the national GDP.
Zhao Chenxin, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, on Monday told a news conference on the sidelines of the ongoing 20th CPC National Congress that China will ramp up efforts to make the GBA an exemplary model for high-quality development, focusing on promoting technological innovation, boosting coordinated industrial development, and improving people's livelihoods.
(Cover: The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, July 11, 2018. /Xinhua)