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Remarks at the Reception Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Return of Hong Kong to the Motherland
2017/07/01

By H.E. Ambassador Zhan Yongxin

June 29th, 2017

 

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends.

Good Evening!

Today we gather here to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong by the People's Republic of China. Before I came here, I was personally involved in foreign affairs related to Hong Kong. I myself have a special feeling for Hong Kong, the Oriental Pearl.

Hong Kong is a Chinese territory since ancient times. As early as in the Qin Dynasty and Han Dynasty 2000 years ago, Hong Kong was part of the prefecture of Nanhai (South Sea). The British Empire took Hong Kong by force after the infamous Opium War in 1840. Since then, the Chinese people had carried out extremely hard and arduous struggle in order to get Hong Kong back to the embrace of the Mother Land. From 1982 (Nineteen Eighty-Two) to 1984 (Nineteen Eighty-Four), Chinese and British governments held rounds of talks referring to the future status of Hong Kong. In December 1984, the two governments signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Hong Kong returned to China on July 1st, 1997, and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China was officially established on that day.

The return of Hong Kong to the motherland realized the long cherished wishes of all Chinese people, including compatriots in Hong Kong. It was a major international event at the end of last century. The return of Hong Kong marked an important step on the path of the grand cause to achieve national reunification of China, which also was a shining example to successfully solve historical problems by peaceful means. Hong Kong entered into a new era of development ever since.

Since the return of Hong Kong to the motherland, the idea of One Country, Two Systems turned into reality from conception. The Central Government, according strictly to the Basic Law of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, unswervingly protects the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. Hong Kong maintains its status of international finance, trade and shipping centers, and has been rated as the freest economy and most competitive region in the world for years; now Hong Kong is an important platform of the internationalization of RMB and the promotion of Belt and Road Initiative. Today, Hong Kong economy is growing, while social stability is keeping, the livelihood of the people upgrading, and public confidence and international influence expanding. We do have reasons to believe that the future of Hong Kong will be even better! Today we prepared some pictures at this venue, which reflects the good development since the return of Hong Kong.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

The Chinese people and the Jewish people have a friendly relations over a thousand years. We have always mutually respected, appreciated, and sympathized each other. Historically, Hong Kong was an important linchpin of our two peoples. Today, there is a Jewish Community of nearly 6000 people in Hong Kong. They enjoy life and work there, and function like a bridge of friendship between the Chinese and the Jewish peoples.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relation between China and Israel. In recent years, there were frequent high level visits between our two countries. Last March, Prime Minister Netanyahu visited China successfully, and the two sides announced the establishment of Innovative Comprehensive Partnership. The economic and trade cooperation between our two countries are developing rapidly, and China is the largest trade partner of Israel in Asia and its third largest globally. The Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation and Intergovernmental Mechanism on Economic and Technological Cooperation are running smoothly. Besides, our two countries are currently negotiating the free trade agreement. We also enjoy an even warmer people to people contact. In 2016, nearly 80,000 Chinese tourists visited Israel, which was a 69% increase compared to 2015. This March, Cathy Pacific of Hong Kong opened a new direct flight from Hong Kong to Tel Aviv. In the coming September, Hainan Airlines will open another direct flight from Shanghai to Tel Aviv, in addition to the existing route of Beijing to Tel Aviv which was opened last year. All these measures provide the mutual economic and trade cooperation with even greater convenience.

The State of Israel is a state of innovation, a state of knowledge, and a state of science and technology, and Hong Kong of China is a harbor of finance, a harbor of pluralism, and a harbor of prosperity. Hong Kong, with the strong backing of Chinese Mainland, is full of all kinds of opportunities in the future. We welcome Israeli friends in all walks of life to invest in Hong Kong, to seek more business opportunities, and to promote the Innovative Comprehensive Partnership between China and Israel to an even higher level!

Last but not least, I would like to propose a toast,

For the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong,

For the development of friendship between China and Israel,

For your good health,

Le Haim! Cheers!

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