Photo taken on April 25, 2019 shows the Golden Lotus Square in Macao Special Administrative Region. (File photo: IC)
That the "one country, two systems" framework is ideal for governing the Macao Special Administrative Region was evident at the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of Macao's return to China on Friday where outgoing chief executive Chui Sai-on handed over power to his successor Ho Iat-seng. By showcasing the adaptability and vitality of "one-country, two systems", the smooth change of guard in Macao also demonstrated China's determination to prevent any foreign powers from interfering in its internal affairs.
In his speech on the occasion, President Xi Jinping crystallized Macao's exemplary development over the past 20 years thanks to "Macao characteristics", the SAR's institutional confidence, and ever-strengthening sense of duty toward and consolidation of the social and political foundation of the "one country, two systems" principle. Which gives an idea about the importance of the principle in integrating Macao's development into the overall development of the country, promoting the rule of law, protecting people's rights, and cultivating national identity by forging social unity.
Xi's four proposals for Macao under a new chief executive is pertinent to not only Macao, but also the rest of the country, particularly the Hong Kong SAR, which has been rocked by anti-government riots since July.
As Xi said, the "one country, two systems" principle must be manifested in policies by keeping abreast of the times in order to modernize the governance system and capacity; innovations, focus on improved governance and foresight should guide the SAR's development to integrate with the overall national development plan including the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative; development must be people-centric to ensure it meets their needs and enhances their sense of well-being; and social governance should be inclusive and give full play to the role of patriotism in uniting society.
Extending wholehearted support of the central leadership to both Macao and Hong Kong and hoping the two SARs would pursue innovations in their respective development models, Xi emphasized yet again that China's "resolve to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests is as solid as a rock".
In particular, Hong Kong residents have plenty to learn from Macao's example in this regard. Macao's remarkable growth in the past two decades — its per capita GDP now is the second-highest in the world, and nearly twice that of Hong Kong — clearly shows the "one country, two systems" principle is not only feasible, but also workable. And it has won people's hearts by laying the path for the SARs' brighter future. But for that, the two SARs, especially Hong Kong, have to safeguard their interests as part of the country's overall interests and thwart foreign instigations.