Remarks at the Gathering Marking the 15th Anniversary of Macao’s Return to the Motherland and the Inauguration of the Fourth-term Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region
H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
20 December 2014
Fellow Compatriots, Dear Friends,
Good morning. Today, we gather here in a joyous mood for this grand occasion to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Macao’s return to the motherland and to inaugurate the fourth-term government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).
First of all, on behalf of the Central Government and people of all ethnic groups across the country, I wish to extend cordial greetings to all the residents in Macao and warm congratulations to Mr. Chui Sai On, the fourth Chief Executive of the Macao SAR, his team and members of the Executive Council who have just been sworn in. I also wish to express my sincere appreciation to all the fellow Chinese both at home and abroad as well as foreign friends who have cared about Macao and contributed to its prosperity and stability.
This occasion reminds us of what happened 15 years ago today. On that day, the Chinese government resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Macao, and the Macao SAR of the People’s Republic of China was established. Macao returned to the embrace of the motherland and embarked on a promising path of mutual complementarity and common development with the mainland. That was an event of great historic significance in the development of the Chinese nation and marked a new chapter in Macao’s development.
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 SAR, 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 Macao SAR have won massive support from the people in Macao and have been implemented in real earnest. The constitutional order of the Macao SAR as prescribed by the Constitution and the Basic Law is respected and upheld. The Central Government’s overall governing power is effectively exercised while the high degree 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 law. Macao enjoys orderly progress in democracy, fast economic growth, rising living standards, and social harmony and stability. All-round progress has been made in its various undertakings, and its exchanges with the outside have continued to expand.
– We are glad to see that Macao is having increasingly closer exchanges and cooperation with the mainland and continuing to make its unique contribution to the reform, opening-up and modernization drive of the motherland while sharing the opportunities and benefits brought by development of the motherland. Macao compatriots have gained a growing sense of identity and belonging with the motherland. The close national bond of “blood being thicker than water” is becoming ever stronger. Love for the motherland and love for Macao has 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 the motherland 15 years ago, Macao has scored remarkable achievements that make not only Macao compatriots but also people all ethnic groups in China proud. The valuable experience gained by Macao along the way should be cherished and remembered by Macao compatriots and people of all ethnic groups in the entire nation.
Facts have shown that as long as we understand and implement the principle of “one country, two systems” fully and correctly, strictly abide by the Basic Law, focus on economic growth and people’s wellbeing, uphold inclusiveness and mutual assistance, and promote broad unity under the banner “love the country, love Macao”, the implementation of “one country, two systems” 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 Macao as well as in its external environment. At this new historical starting points, we need to consolidate Macao’s economic and social development and strive for still greater progress. We need to build on past achievements and work with great enterprise to lay a more solid foundation for enduring prosperity and stability of Macao. To this end, I hope Macao will do a good job in the following four aspects:
First, continue to make vigorous efforts to enhance the ability and quality of law-based governance of the SAR. Since its return to the motherland, the Macao SAR 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 SAR.
The course of human progress shows that law-based governance is the most reliable and stable way of governance. We need to make good use of the law-based thinking and approach 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 Macao SAR, so as to lay a solid institutional foundation for the governance of Macao in accordance with law. 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 law, so that the development of the SAR will stay in line with the rule of law. We need to strengthen the ranks of public officials, enhance their regulation and improve their ability to perform their duties in accordance with law. We need to promote the concept of rule of law among the public, encourage them to jointly safeguard the law-based order, train and produce a large number of professionals who are familiar with the Basic Law of the Macao SAR and possess strong legal expertise, so as to provide a strong backing of human resources for the law-based governance in Macao.
Second, continue to make overall planning and actively promote appropriately diversified 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 development risks have built up to some extent. It is important for Macao to adopt a global, nationwide, future-oriented and long-term perspective, formulate appropriate plans and blueprints for its development and promote sound economic and social development.
It is necessary to make long-term planning, seize the opportunity of the national efforts to comprehensively deepen reform, and promote appropriately diversified 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 in Macao, but also for the development of the 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 of development while strengthening regional cooperation. On the one hand, it needs to come up with greater courage and wisdom to solve difficult problems in its development, strengthen and improve regulation and supervision over the gaming industry, nurture new growth areas for its economy, and work for substantive results in its appropriately diversified and sustainable economic development. On the other hand, it needs to make good use of the policies and measures put forward by the Central Government to support Macao’s development, and deepen its cooperation with the mainland, particularly with Guangdong Province and the Pan-Pearl River Delta region. Macao needs to expand its development space and 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 wellbeing of the people. Both the SAR government and people from all walks of life in Macao must doubly 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 learning more about people’s lives and needs and addressing their concerns and difficulties. It needs to properly respond to diverse demands in the society, balance the interests of various sides and foster a more equitable and just 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. People from all walks of life in Macao should continue to uphold the prevalent value of loving the motherland and loving Macao, support the Chief Executive and the SAR government in governing Macao in accordance with law, strengthen social cohesion and positive energy, and work jointly for long-term prosperity and stability of Macao. Meanwhile, we need to guard against and oppose external infiltration and interference, so as to maintain the sound atmosphere of stability and unity in Macao.
Fourth, continue to be future-oriented and strengthen the education of upbringing of the younger generation. It takes ten years to grow trees but a hundred years to cultivate talents. Young people in Macao represent not only the hope and future of Macao, but also the hope and future of the whole country. We need to strengthen the education and upbringing of young people to ensure that the fine 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 about the 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 the young people, priority should be given to the history, culture and national conditions of China, so that they will better appreciate the richness of the Chinese civilization, the glorious journey of the Chinese nation since modern times to salvage China from subjugation and turn it into a strong country, the extraordinary endeavor and tremendous achievement of New China, and the intrinsic link between sticking to the principle of “one country, two systems” on the one hand and upholding and developing socialism with Chinese features and realizing the Chinese dream of great national renewal on the other. In this way, they will fully understand that the destiny and future of Macao are closely tied to those of the motherland, and will thus have a stronger sense of national pride and deeper love for the motherland and Macao, and commit themselves to the cause of “one country, two systems” with a greater sense of responsibility and mission.