‘Piloting ship to weather storm’: Chinese state-run paper highlights ‘vitality’ of Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ principle ahead of Xi Jinping visit

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The Chinese leadership under Xi Jinping has ensured the steadfast implementation of the “one country, two systems” governing formula in Hong Kong as if it had “piloted a ship to weather the storm and turned danger into safety”, a state-run newspaper said in a lengthy article ahead of the president’s two-day visit to the city.

The article, titled “Unswervingly safeguarding the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong” and published in People’s Daily on Wednesday, also said the city should be better able to resolve deep-rooted conflicts effectively under a stabilised environment with “patriots ruling Hong Kong”.

The 10,000-word article in the Communist Party mouthpiece comes ahead of Xi’s visit, starting Thursday, for Hong Kong’s 25th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese rule on July 1 and the swearing-in of Chief Executive-designate John Lee Ka-chiu.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected in Hong Kong on Thursday. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected in Hong Kong on Thursday. Photo: Xinhua

It will be the president’s first trip outside mainland China since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold about 2½ years ago.

The article, with the byline “reporters”, noted that the 2019 extradition bill saga – which sparked months of social unrest – had dragged Hong Kong into “the most severe situation” since the 1997 handover, seriously threatening national security, the city’s rule of law, and economic and social stability.

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It said Xi had decisively addressed both the immediate threats and causes with important measures to bring the city’s development “back on the right track”, referring to the Beijing-imposed national security law and electoral overhaul.

“Hong Kong has ended chaos and restored order, and is now in a critical period from stability to prosperity. The strong vitality of one country, two systems has been fully demonstrated,” the article said.

“This is attributed to the leadership of the party’s Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core that ensured the implementation of one country, two systems like it piloted a ship to weather the storm and turned danger into safety.”

The 2019 extradition bill saga sparked months of social unrest in Hong Kong. Photo: K. Y. Cheng
The 2019 extradition bill saga sparked months of social unrest in Hong Kong. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

It also said the state leader had already given clear, important instructions on the long-term implementation of one country, two systems, urging the city to better integrate into national development plans.

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“Today’s Hong Kong has a more stable situation with patriots ruling Hong Kong, an improved rule of law and business environment, as well as a more harmonious social sentiment,” the article said.

“Various deep-rooted conflicts and problems that plagued Hong Kong for a long time should be better able to be resolved effectively.”

Xi is expected to arrive in the city from Shenzhen by high-speed train on Thursday afternoon to attend celebrations.

He is expected to return to Shenzhen in the evening and travel to Hong Kong on Friday morning to officiate at the ceremony to mark the handover anniversary and oversee the swearing-in of the new cabinet in Wan Chai.

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