Hong Kong must be governed by "staunch patriots", says senior Chinese official

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam holds up a certificate after receiving China's Sinovac Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at the Community Vaccination Centre in Hong Kong on February 22, 2021. - AFP

BEIJING, Feb. 22 (Xinhua): A senior Chinese official on Hong Kong affairs on Monday said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) must be governed by "staunch patriots."

Addressing a high-level symposium on Hong Kong affairs, Xia Baolong, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and head of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said patriots must meet three main sets of criteria.

The first criterion, Xia said, is that patriots must sincerely uphold the nation's sovereignty, security and development interests. They must not conduct activities endangering national sovereignty and security, which is the bottom-line criterion, he added.

Xia said those who hysterically attack the central government, openly advocate "Hong Kong independence," bad-mouth or spread pessimism about China and Hong Kong in the international community or beg for foreign sanctions against China and Hong Kong are undoubtedly not patriots.

Patriots must respect and uphold the fundamental system of the country and the constitutional order of the HKSAR, Xia said, adding that patriotism means loving the People's Republic of China.

In China, where socialist democracy is practiced, different political views are allowed, Xia said. But things that endanger the country's fundamental system -- the socialist system led by the Communist Party of China -- are absolutely not allowed, he added.

To respect and uphold the constitutional order of the HKSAR, one must resolutely uphold national unity, sovereignty and security, accurately understand and grasp the superior-subordinate relationship between the central authorities and the HKSAR, and properly exercise the SAR's high degree of autonomy, Xia said.

Patriots must do their best to safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, Xia said, adding that those who apply the "burn with us" tactic are destroyers of Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and are absolutely not patriots.

Loving the country and loving Hong Kong cannot be separated, or even be taken as contradictory to each other, Xia said, adding that the vast majority of Chinese citizens in Hong Kong are patriotic, and those who stand opposed to patriots are a small number of anti-China disruptors.

As destroyers of "one country, two systems," these people shall never be allowed to get their hands on power in the HKSAR, Xia said. "Not now, and not in the future."

He said the emphasis on "patriots governing Hong Kong" is not meant to erase all differences.

The majority of Hong Kong residents have long had the tradition of loving the motherland and Hong Kong. Some people, having lived in a capitalist society for a long time, lack adequate knowledge of the motherland and the mainland, and thus may hold prejudice against the motherland and the mainland, Xia said.

The central authorities adopt an understanding and inclusive attitude toward them and believe that they will continue to resolutely love the country and Hong Kong, draw a clear line between themselves and the anti-China disruptors in Hong Kong and actively participate in the governance of Hong Kong, he added.

Xia stressed that those who hold important positions, wield vital power and shoulder major governance responsibilities in the power structure of the HKSAR must be staunch patriots who meet higher patriotic requirements.

They should fully and faithfully implement the "one country, two systems" principle, have a high sense of responsibility and resolutely fight any forces challenging the principle and undermining its practice, Xia said.

They should also plan Hong Kong's future from the strategic height of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and overall national development and stay united to form a powerful force of patriots who govern Hong Kong, he added. - Xinhua
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