Top legislator urges upholding, improving '1 country, 2 systems'
China's top legislator Li Zhanshu on Tuesday called for efforts to promote the successful practice of "one country, two systems" with Macao's characteristics in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region.
Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, made the remarks at a symposium marking the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Basic Law of the Macao SAR.
The successful implementation of the Basic Law in Macao has proven that only by forging a broad sense of national identity across the society, can the Basic Law be fully and faithfully carried out; only by safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, can Macao maintain long-term prosperity and stability; and only by including the Macao SAR in the country's governance system and overall development, can Macao progress toward a new, bright future, Li said.
He stressed that upholding the "one country, two systems" principle and advancing the reunification of China is a basic policy in upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
Li raised four points for the comprehensive, faithful and effective implementation of the Basic Law in Macao:
— The governance of the Macao SAR should be strictly based on the Constitution and the Basic Law of the SAR.
— The central government's overall jurisdiction over the Macao SAR as well as the SAR's high degree of autonomy should be both carried out in accordance with the law. The central government's overall jurisdiction is the condition and foundation for authorizing the Macao SAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy. The two are interconnected and consistent with each other, and can not be separated or counterposed under any circumstance.
— The institutions for maintaining national security should continuously be improved to guard against external interference in Macao affairs and to thwart acts of secession, subversion, infiltration and sabotage;
— Unremitting efforts must be made to improve the publicity of the Constitution and the Basic Law to promote the spirit of the rule of law.
Li added that upholding the "one country, two systems" principle, maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao, and pushing forward the peaceful reunification of the country signify a significant strength of China's state institutions and governance system.
Macao's economy has achieved continuous growth since its return to the motherland in 1999, said Li, adding that Macao's GDP surged from MOP$51.9 billion (US$6.45 billion) in 1999 to MOP$444.7 billion in 2018, marking a leapfrog development, and the GDP per capita grew from MOP$120,000 in 1999 to MOP$670,000 in 2018, ranking among the top in the world.
On handling the relations between "one country" and "two systems," Li required adhering to the principle that "one country" is the premise and basis of the "two systems," and the "two systems" are subordinate to and derived from "one country" and are united under "one country."
Over the past 20 years, the Macao SAR has fully implemented all regulations of the Basic Law, properly recognized and handled the relations between "one country" and "two systems," and the central government's power and a high degree of autonomy in the region were both ensured and efficiently exercised within the framework of "one country, two systems," Li said.
One of the most important reasons why this could happen is that the people in Macao have been upholding the core values of loving both the country and Macao, possessing a strong sense of national identity and the Constitution, Li said, noting that national identity has a broad and profound social foundation in Macao.
During the past 20 years, the stable and prosperous region has become an important bridgehead in China's two-way opening up and international people-to-people exchanges due to its strengths, including outstanding business environment and highly developed market, Li said.
He added that Macao has made important contributions to the country's reform and opening-up, as well as the country's modernization, noting that the region and the mainland have been mutually reinforcing and commonly developed, displaying strong vitality of the "one country, two systems."
"No difficulty, risk or challenge can falter our faith and determination to resolutely stick to the successful path of 'one country, two systems,' or keep us from rising up to the difficulties and moving on," Li noted.
The central government has now gained enough experience, garnered enough confidence, gathered enough power and possessed enough measures to ensure that the cause of "one country, two systems" can proceed in a stable manner, and that the Constitution and the Basic Law of the Macao SAR can be comprehensively, faithfully and effectively implemented, he said.
During the symposium, Chief Executive of the Macao SAR Chui Sai On said the most precious experience of the successful practice of "one country, two systems" with Macao's characteristics lies in fully and faithfully implementing the Constitution and the Basic Law, following the principle of ensuring rights while fulfilling duties, and giving full play to the institutional advantages conferred by the Basic Law.
With a solid foundation laid and rich experience accumulated over the past 20 years, the central government, the Macao SAR government and people from all walks of life in Macao will be more confident in coping with new situations, problems and challenges in the future implementation of the "one country, two systems" principle, said Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.
Vice Premier Han Zheng, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, as well as some 150 government officials, legislators, political advisers and scholars, attended the symposium.