Progress in Practicing "One Country, Two Systems" in Macao*
December 20, 2014
Over the past 15 years, with the strong support of the central government and the mainland, and under the leadership of the chief executive and government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), people from various sectors in Macao have united as one, made vigorous efforts to implement the principle of "one country, two systems" and achieved fruitful results.
– We are glad to see that the principles of "one country, two systems", "Macao people administering Macao", and a high degree of autonomy as well as the Basic Law of the MSAR have won massive support from the people of Macao and have been implemented in real earnest. The constitutional order of the MSAR as prescribed by the Constitution and the Basic Law is respected and upheld. The central government's full jurisdiction is effectively exercised while the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by the SAR is fully guaranteed. Our compatriots in Macao are masters of their own house, entitled to broad freedoms and democratic rights in accordance with the law. Macao now enjoys orderly progress in democracy, rapid economic growth, rising living standards, and social harmony and stability. All-round progress has been made in its various social programs, and its exchanges with the outside world have continued to expand.
– We are glad to see that Macao's exchanges and cooperation with the mainland are becoming ever-closer, and that Macao is continuing to make its unique contribution to China's reform, opening up and modernization while sharing the opportunities and benefits brought by development of the mainland. Our fellow countrymen in Macao have gained a growing sense of identity and belonging. The close national bond of "blood being thicker than water" is becoming ever stronger. Love for China and love for Macao have become a prevalent value in Macao society.
– We are glad to see that as a historical city where Chinese and Western cultures meet, Macao displays a unique charm that belongs to a culture typical of southern China, yet with a distinctive European touch. Here, communities from various ethnic backgrounds live in harmony and help and learn from each other. Together, they present to the world a dynamic Macao beaming with vitality.
Since its return to China 15 years ago, Macao has achieved a series of remarkable successes of which our compatriots in Macao and people of all ethnic groups in China can be justifiably proud. The valuable experience gained by Macao along the way should be cherished and remembered by the entire nation.
Facts have shown that as long as we fully and correctly understand and implement the principle of "one country, two systems", strictly abide by the Basic Law, focus on economic growth and the wellbeing of the people, uphold inclusiveness and mutual assistance, and promote broad unity under the banner "love the country, love Macao", we will make steady and continuous progress along the right track, and Macao will have a better future.
The past 15 years have seen profound changes taking place in every aspect of life in Macao as well as in its external environment. At this new historical start, we need to consolidate Macao's economic and social development and strive for still greater progress. To achieve this, we need to build on past achievements and work with great enterprise to lay a more solid foundation for the enduring prosperity and stability of Macao. To this end, I hope Macao will succeed in the following four areas:
First, continue to make vigorous efforts to enhance the capability and quality of law-based governance of the MSAR. Since its return to China, Macao, as a special administrative region, has constantly improved its governance system and capability. Meanwhile, we have also noted that the evolving situation and people's expectations have raised new and higher demands for the governance of the MSAR.
The course of human progress shows that law-based governance is the most reliable and stable way of governance. To achieve this, we need to make good use of law-based thinking and practice in our governance, increase public awareness of the rule of law, and in particular, improve the institutions and legal systems designed to support the implementation of the Basic Law of the MSAR. Efforts should be made to build a diligent, clean, efficient and fair government under the rule of law, and ensure that decision-making and policy implementation are carried out in accordance with the law, so that the development of Macao will stay in line with the rule of law. We need to strengthen the ranks of public officials, manage them well, and improve their ability to perform their duties in accordance with the law. We need to promote the concept of rule of law among the public and encourage them to jointly safeguard law-based order. At the same time we need to train a large number of professionals who are familiar with the Basic Law of the MSAR and possess strong legal expertise, so as to provide a strong backing of human resources for law-based governance in Macao.
Second, continue to build an overall strategy and promote suitably diverse and sustainable economic development in Macao. In recent years, Macao has enjoyed rapid economic and social progress. At the same time, certain deep-seated problems formed over the years have surfaced, and certain development risks have built up. It is important for Macao to adopt a future-oriented and long-term perspective that embraces both the nation and the globe, to formulate appropriate plans and blueprints for its future development, and to promote sound economic and social progress.
It is essential to have long-term plans, seize every opportunity created by the national effort to achieve deeper all-round reform, and promote the diverse and sustainable economic development of Macao based on its positioning as a global tourism and leisure hub and a service platform for economic and trade cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. This is important not only for the people of Macao, but also for the development of the Pan-Pearl River Delta region and even the whole country.
Macao needs to enhance top-level planning and specify concrete steps and measures for progress. It needs to follow a two-pronged approach, improving its own ability to develop while strengthening regional cooperation. On the one hand, it needs to find the courage and wisdom to solve difficult problems in its development, strengthen and improve regulation and supervision over the gaming industry, nurture new growth engines for its economy, and work hard for substantive results. On the other hand, it needs to make good use of the policies and measures that the central government has enacted to support Macao's development, and strengthen its cooperation with the mainland, particularly with Guangdong Province and the Pan-Pearl River Delta region. Macao needs to expand its development space, gain greater impetus for its development through regional cooperation, and strive for common development and progress with the mainland.
Third, continue to build a solid foundation and work for social harmony and stability. Harmony and stability constitute the basis for economic and social development and the wellbeing of the people. The SAR government and all the people of Macao must fully cherish and do everything they can to safeguard harmony and stability in Macao.
In governing Macao, the SAR government needs to put people first by fully understanding people's lives and needs and addressing their concerns and difficulties. It needs to properly respond to diverse demands in society, balance the interests of various groups, and foster a fairer and more equitable social environment. It needs to make sure that people have better access to the fruits of development, improve their quality of life, and increase their happiness index. Everyone in Macao should continue to love the motherland and love Macao, support the chief executive and the SAR government in governing Macao in accordance with the law, strengthen social cohesion and positive energy, and work jointly for long-term prosperity and stability. Meanwhile, we need to guard against and oppose external infiltration and interference, so as to maintain a sound atmosphere of stability and unity in Macao.
Fourth, continue to be future-oriented and strengthen the education of the younger generation. It takes ten years to cultivate a tree but decades to cultivate talent. Young people in Macao represent the hope and future not only of Macao, but the whole country. We need to strengthen the education and upbringing of young people to ensure that the worthy tradition of loving the motherland and loving Macao will be carried forward from one generation to another and that the cause of "one country, two systems" will be continuously advanced. We need to care for our young people and attach great importance to creating favorable conditions for their growth and success.
China is a great country with a time-honored history and rich civilization. The fine traditional culture that the Chinese nation has created and carried forward in its thousands of years of history is the root and soul of the Chinese nation. In the education of our young people, priority should be given to the history, culture and national conditions of China, so that they will better appreciate these things: the wealth of the Chinese civilization, the glorious journey of the modern era through which China was salvaged from subjugation and turned into a strong country, the extraordinary endeavor and tremendous achievements of the PRC, and the intrinsic links between the principle of "one country, two systems", upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. In this way, they will fully understand that the destiny and the future of Macao are intricately bound with the mainland, and will thus have a stronger sense of national pride and deeper love for China and for Macao. As a result, they will commit themselves to the cause of "one country, two systems" with a greater sense of responsibility and mission.
"One country, two systems" is a basic state policy. A firm grasp of this policy is vital to ensuring the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao. It is also an important part of our endeavor to fulfill the Chinese Dream. It conforms with the fundamental interests of the country and the nation, the overall and long-term interests of Hong Kong and Macao, and the interests of foreign investors.
To continue to advance this policy, we must remain committed to the fundamental purpose of "one country, two systems", jointly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao. We must continue to govern Hong Kong and Macao and implement the principle of "one country, two systems" in accordance with the law. We must adhere to the one-China principle while respecting the differences of the two systems, uphold the power of the central government while ensuring a high degree of autonomy in the SARs, and give play to the role of the mainland as the staunch supporter of Hong Kong and Macao while increasing their competitiveness. At no time should we focus only on one side to the neglect of the other. This is the only way to ensure sound and steady progress. An approach that makes the wrong start, like putting one's left foot into the right shoe, will lead us to nowhere.
To continue to advance the cause of "one country, two systems" is the common mission of the central government, the SAR governments, and all the people of China, including our compatriots in Hong Kong and Macao. No matter what difficulties or challenges we may encounter, they will never shake our confidence or our determination to uphold the principle and advance the practice.
* Part of the speech at the Meeting Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Macao's Return to China and the Inaugural Ceremony of the Fourth-term Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)