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Ambassador Wu Xi's Remarks at the Reception in Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Macao's Return to the Motherland
2019/12/12

Distinguished guests,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou kātoa.

Thank you for joining us today to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Macao's return to China.

What comes to mind when you think of Macao? Beautiful scenery and architecture, bustling streets, a vibrant economy and booming tourism industry?

This is the face of modern Macao. But 20 years ago, the picture was very different. The Asian Financial Crisis impacted Macao’s economy significantly, and public security was a genuine concern, adding to the difficulty and insecurity of people’s lives.

Since the return of sovereignty to the motherland, the principles of "one country, two systems", "Macao people governing Macao" have been faithfully and fully implemented. Today, Macao enjoys a high degree of autonomy and has made remarkable strides in all aspects of its development.

GDP has maintained a track of steady growth, hitting almost 55 billion US dollars in 2018, around 8 times the GDP of 1999. The per capita GDP is now 82,000 US dollars, almost 5 times that of 1999. The number of visitors to Macao has soared from 7.4 million in 1999 to 35.8 million last year.

With the ongoing development of the economy, Macao's employment rate has increased, social harmony and stability have been enhanced, and people’s livelihoods have improved greatly. With the strong support of the central government, Macao has also become an active participant in international cooperation.

As a Special Administrative Region of China, the fate of Macao is closely tied to the whole Chinese nation. The story of Macao’s successful development would not be possible without the rapid development of China in the past seven decades.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago, with the concerted efforts of all Chinese people, a prosperous, strong and peaceful China has emerged from a history marked by conflict, foreign humiliation and poverty. The Chinese nation has achieved a tremendous transformation. It has emerged confident, grown prosperous, and has become strong. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.

The strong and prosperous China of today is the driving force behind Macao’s development. The rapid development on the mainland has provided Macao with greater resources and inbound tourists. The Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area are creating significant new development opportunities for Macao.

In the recently convened Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, an important decision was adopted to uphold and improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, to promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity. The session proposed that the “one country, two systems” policy, as a fundamental and significant measure to ensure national peace and unity, should be strongly reinforced. The Hong Kong and Macao SARs must be governed in accordance with the constitution and the Basic Law, to safeguard prosperity and stability in the regions as well as establishing well-rounded law enforcement mechanisms.

As a principle formulated by China, "One country, two systems" has proven to be the best institutional arrangement for maintaining long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao, the best solution for dealing with the legacy and questions of the past, and the best system for achieving the reunification of China.

‘One country’ is the fundamental basis from which ‘two systems’ becomes possible. ‘One country’ must, therefore, be safeguarded for ‘two systems’ to be successful. Questioning the necessity of ‘One Country’ constitutes a challenge to China’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity. It is also an affront to the success Macao has enjoyed since its return to the motherland.

In recent years, some anti-China forces in the world do not want to see China's development .They have used Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan as weapons to overshadow the successes of "one country, two systems", the improved living standards enjoyed by the Chinese people, and China’s broader development.

Following the passing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the House of Representatives of the United States (US) once again reviewed and passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 recently.

We strongly oppose these moves which complicate China’s efforts in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization. All they achieve is the revealing of a US double standard on counter-terrorism, as well as showing the Chinese people the hypocrisy of US intentions.

Today's China is not the impoverished, weak and bullied China of the past. The China of today has the confidence and ability to eliminate all interference and open new chapters in the success of "one country, two systems" in Macao and Hong Kong.

We are also fully confident and able to overcome all challenges, whether they seek to undermine the reunification and unity of our nation, or to hamper China's development and progress. The history of China’s growing prosperity and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation are too strong to be stopped by any force.

Hong Kong and Macao also play an important part in cooperation between China and New Zealand. The continued stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and Macao under "One Country, Two Systems" is in the interests of both China and the world, including New Zealand.

With the full support of the motherland and the common efforts of people who love both the motherland and Hong Kong, Macao, we are confident Hong Kong and Macao will enjoy peace and prosperity and the "oriental pearl" will shine even brighter.

To conclude, I would like to propose a toast,

to the prosperity of Macao,

to the friendship between Chinese and New Zealand,

to the health of everyone here tonight.

Thank you.

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