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On Thursday, Beijing announced the establishment of the Hong Kong and Macao work office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (HKMWO). The formation of the Hong Kong and Macao work office is based on the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council. The Hong Kong and Macao work office is responsible for the investigation, research, overall planning, coordination, and supervision of the implementation of the “one country, two systems” policy, the exercise of the central authorities’ overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong and Macao, the safeguarding of national security, the protection of people’s livelihoods and well-being, and rendering support for the integration of Hong Kong and Macao into overall national development.
The important reforms of the Party and State institutions signify that in the new era and under the new situation, the core leadership of the Communist Party of China attaches enormous importance to the successful practice of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong and Macao and deeply cares for the well-being of Hong Kong and Macao compatriots. At the same time, the reforms are also a major strategic arrangement of the core leadership of the CPC to strengthen the unified and centralized leadership of the Party over the implementation of the various policies, measures, and actions of the central government in Hong Kong, enhance the governance capacity and performance of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, strengthen the practice of “patriots administering Hong Kong”, accelerate Hong Kong’s integration into the overall development of the country, promote Hong Kong’s prosperity, stability and development, and effectively and robustly safeguard national security.
From the perspective of the whole country, in the new era and under the new situation, especially in the face of the severe and fast-changing international situation and the arduous and complicated tasks in “reform and opening-up”, the exercise of leadership by the CPC in all fields must be strengthened to achieve the socialist modernization of the country and the rejuvenation of the nation. Institutional reforms are imperative and inevitable to greatly improve the governance capacity and performance of the CPC. On Oct 16, 2022, General Secretary Xi Jinping, in his report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC, already emphasized that “Our Party has a pivotal role in building China into a modern socialist country in all respects and in advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts”.
As far as Hong Kong is concerned, since the Party core leadership has decided that the good system of “one country, two systems” will persist for a long time, it is imperative to strengthen the Party’s leadership over the State departments and their work related to Hong Kong and Macao through institutional reforms in the Party. Institutional reforms are undertaken to ensure the full and accurate implementation of “one country, two systems”, its steady and long-term progress, and the comprehensive and effective formulation and implementation of the Party core leadership’s policies and actions toward Hong Kong and Macao.
What must be pointed out and recognized is that the CPC is the top designer and implementer of the “one country, two systems” policy. On June 12, 2021, Luo Huining, then director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, emphasized, at a forum held in Hong Kong themed “Communist Party of China and ‘one country, two systems'”, that the CPC has created, developed and defended “one country, two systems”. He also pointed out that to promote the cause of “one country, two systems”, we must uphold and maintain the leadership of the CPC, constantly improve the institutions and mechanisms related to the implementation of the national Constitution and the Basic Law and act to better integrate Hong Kong into the overall development of the country.
The developments over the past few years have shown that only after the central government took decisive actions could Hong Kong quell the violent riots and smash the conspiracies of the anti-China subversives inside and outside Hong Kong that were attempting to seize the governing power of the HKSAR, and thus end its chaos and restore order. The long-term stability and development of Hong Kong in the future, especially under the turbulent international situation and given Hong Kong’s internal difficulties, hinge on the HKSAR’s “effective governance and prosperity”. This cannot be attained without the support and guidance of the central government. History has fully proved that the central government has always cared for, supported and loved Hong Kong’s compatriots. Everything the central government has done for Hong Kong is for the good of the country, the HKSAR and the Hong Kong compatriots. This can be seen in the numerous support policies and measures devised and deployed by the central government for Hong Kong since the city’s return to the motherland, especially those introduced recently.
With the continuous development of the country, the “Hong Kong affairs” are no longer simply an issue of “national unification” to the CPC, but also an issue related to the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the achievement of the second centenary goal, the construction of a powerful socialist modern country, safeguarding national security and facilitating Taiwan’s return to the motherland. The successful practice of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong and Macao is therefore of paramount importance.
The strengthening of the core leadership of the CPC’s attention and leadership in Hong Kong affairs, and the devotion of bountiful resources to Hong Kong and Macao by the whole country will be conducive to maintaining and promoting the prosperity, stability, and development of Hong Kong and Macao, ensuring that the development of the two SARs and the development of the country are in tandem and ensuring that the SARs will not become the “weak underbelly” of national security. It will also be conducive to ensuring that the two SARs’ development strategy can be seamlessly connected with the country’s development strategy so that the SARs can better serve the country’s needs by giving full play to their strengths.
In the context of the CPC strengthening its overall leadership of the whole country and the whole government, abundant resources of the Party and the country will be deployed and better coordinated to accelerate the SARs’ integration into the overall development of the country, especially in their deep participation in the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the realization of the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the thorough resolution of the slew of deep-seated economic, political, social, livelihood and cultural contradictions that have all along hindered Hong Kong’s long-term development.
All in all, the establishment of the HKMWO can better promote and maintain “one country, two systems” in the two SARs, their long-term prosperity and stability, and the well-being of Hong Kong and Macao compatriots, all of which are increasingly valued by the central authorities.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
The author is a professor emeritus of sociology, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a consultant of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies.