The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council have recently released a plan on reforming Party and State institutions, which includes the creation of the Hong Kong and Macao Work Office of the CPC Central Committee responsible for the investigation, research, coordination and supervision of upholding the principle of “one country, two systems”, exercising the central authorities’ overall jurisdiction over the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, governing the SARs in accordance with the law, safeguarding national security, improving people’s livelihoods and well-being, and facilitating the integration of the two SARs into national development.
The work office will be formed on the basis of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs of the State Council, and will function as a working body of the CPC Central Committee. The name of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council will be retained.
The reform of the central leadership structure for Hong Kong and Macao affairs highlights the importance of the work on Hong Kong and Macao affairs in national strategy. It will go a long way to pooling strength from all sides to ensure the full and accurate implementation of “one country, two systems”, setting a milestone in the course of maintaining long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao.
In his remarks at the closing ceremony of the first plenary session of the 14th National People’s Congress, President Xi Jinping emphasized that the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao is indispensable to the building of a great China. His message suggests that if Hong Kong and Macao do not manage to remain prosperous and stable in the future, the cause of building a modern and strong China will remain an unfinished mission. In this sense, Hong Kong and Macao play a very important role in national development. The success of Hong Kong and Macao matters not only to the SARs but also to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the future of “one country, two systems”, the complete reunification of China, China’s modernization, and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The reform of the central leadership structure for Hong Kong and Macao affairs highlights the importance of the work on Hong Kong and Macao affairs in national strategy. It will go a long way to pooling strength from all sides to ensure the full and accurate implementation of “one country, two systems”, setting a milestone in the course of maintaining long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao
In a nutshell, the central authorities’ work on Hong Kong and Macao affairs is a matter of great national significance; and it makes perfect sense for the central leadership to put in more effort and pay more attention to this area.
Given the importance of the central authorities’ work on Hong Kong and Macao affairs, Xia Baolong, a deputy head of the Central Leading Group on Hong Kong and Macao Affairs and director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, expounded on the seven major aspects of the central authorities’ work on the two SARs. Those are, to fully and accurately implement “one country, two systems”; to uphold the high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong and Macao while ensuring the central government’s overall jurisdiction over the two SARs; to firmly uphold the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” and “patriots administering Macao”; to ensure the governance of Hong Kong and Macao according to law; to give full play to the advantages and uniqueness of Hong Kong and Macao; to support Hong Kong and Macao in developing their economies, promoting people’s livelihoods, and resolving deep-seated issues in their socioeconomic development; and to foster an expansive united front at home and abroad for promoting “one country, two systems”.
These encompass a wide range of arduous undertakings. Obviously, neither the Central Coordination Group for Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, established in 2003, nor its 2020 upgraded version — the Central Leading Group on Hong Kong and Macao Affairs — was prepared to accomplish all these tasks. The reform plan emphasizes “investigation, research, coordination and supervision” in describing the responsibilities of the Hong Kong and Macao Work Office of the CPC Central Committee. In particular, to ensure effective “coordination and supervision”, there is a need for the Party to strengthen its leadership over Hong Kong and Macao.
Although Hong Kong and Macao have their own advantages, they are small economies that need the strong support of the motherland in their socioeconomic development. The establishment of the Hong Kong and Macao Work Office of the CPC Central Committee will surely benefit the practice of “one country, two systems” and the development of Hong Kong and Macao.
The development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, for example, is a national strategy that will enhance the well-being of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. However, under the framework of “one country, two systems” with three separate customs territories, three different currencies and three distinct regulatory regimes, it is difficult to ensure the free flow of factors of production. Besides, all three places lack the capability to undertake cross-boundary coordination work, which will invariably hinder the GBA development. When the newly established work office starts to perform its functions of coordination and supervision, it will catalyze the implementation of key tasks and bring about benefits more expeditiously.
Hong Kong and Macao tapping into the mainland market is another case in point. Despite the constantly improving business environment on the mainland, it has much to catch up with that of Hong Kong and Macao. Businesses from Hong Kong and Macao will inevitably run into obstacles when they try to establish their presence on the mainland. However, as the central government has revealed its determination to further institutional opening up, together with the new work office in place to coordinate and supervise the process, companies from the two SARs will be given greater support in tapping into the mainland market.
Certain foreign media were quick to peddle untruths about the reform of the central governance structure for the Hong Kong and Macao SARs, hyping the creation of the new work office as substituting “two systems” with “one system”. It’s ill-advised gibberish at best. Foreign entities hostile to China habitually resort to their preset image of Beijing and always scramble for “evidence” to support their smear campaign. Such chicanery is nothing new and can hardly pull the wool over the eyes of a discerning audience.
As the creator, implementer and guardian of “one country, two systems”, the CPC has a better knowledge of the value of “one country, two systems” than any foreign entity and hence has more say in the particularity of the principle. The coexistence of two social systems within one country is made possible by the CPC exercising its political wisdom, which is beyond the comprehension of many foreign politicians and media outlets. This explains their misrepresentations of the CPC and its endeavors, including the creation of the Hong Kong and Macao Work Office of the CPC Central Committee.
The author is a Hong Kong member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of the Hong Kong New Era Development Thinktank.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
HONG KONG NEWS