Chinese President Xi Jinping praised Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor during a meeting held in Beijing Monday afternoon, lauding her for her work over the past year.
Lam led the Hong Kong government well, tackling difficult tasks and taking up responsibilities in a courageous manner, Xi said.
As Lam reported to Xi on her administration’s work and Hong Kong’s current situation. Xi said at the meeting that the central government fully endorses the performance of her administration, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Lam has been staunchly safeguarding the “one country, two systems” principle as well as the Basic Law, Xi said, noting that Hong Kong has both benefited from and contributed to China’s reform and opening up, which began 40 years ago.
Xi praised the Hong Kong government’s active participation in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as its efforts to solve the problems concerning the interests of local residents and create conditions for the growth and development of young people.
Lam’s government has embodied the spirit of taking up challenges and not avoiding difficult tasks, Xi said, adding that people in Hong Kong and Macau, like their peers in the mainland, are the creators of the “great miracle” delivered by the nation’s reform and opening-up.
Looking ahead, Xi stressed that the “one country, two systems” principle must be unswervingly upheld, and that Beijing will support Hong Kong and Macau to help them integrate their development into that of China.
The meeting with Xi was the main part of Lam’s duty visit to Beijing from Dec. 15 to 18, her second such reporting trip since she took office in July last year.
Lam said in response that she was thankful to the Chinese president for his care and support of Hong Kong.
Xi’s actions such as hosting the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge opening ceremony in October, as well as inviting Hong Kong and Macau delegations to Beijing in November for celebrating the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up were encouraging to Hong Kong society, according to Lam.
Several hours before the Xi meeting, Lam also met with Premier Li Keqiang, who commended Lam and her administration for maintaining steady economic growth.
Praising the Hong Kong chief executive for her leadership, Li highlighted the Lam administration’s promotion of innovation and technology as well as efforts to tackle livelihood issues, and also Hong Kong’s active participation in the Greater Bay Area plan.
The premier said the central government will fully support Hong Kong’s efforts to maintain long-term prosperity and stability, and that he hopes the city will grasp the opportunities brought by the country’s further reform and opening up.
At a press conference held in the evening after Monday’s meetings, Lam was asked whether Xi’s remarks of seeking to complete tasks that are not easy and not avoiding difficulties implied that he wants Hong Kong to speed up legislating Article 23 of the Basic Law, which requires Hong Kong to implement laws against treason, secession, sedition and subversion.
In her response, Lam said that such remarks had been made multiple times in the past and that she believes Xi did not intend to deliver any special message this time.
Lam said her position on the matter remains unchanged from what she said in her Policy Address in October, that the government will “carefully consider all relevant factors, act prudently and continue its efforts to create a favorable social environment for the legislative work”.
“If you’re interested in national security or enactment of local legislation on Basic Law Article 23, I would refer you to what I have said in the Policy Address, and that is exactly still my position today,” she said.
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