Party Congress: HK must seize opportunities made available

The upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, set to open on Sunday, is attracting growing attention from around the world as well as the whole country every day. The 20th CPC Congress will draw up plans for the nation’s comprehensive development in the next five years and beyond. In addition to fleshing out the overall strategy of socialist modernization, with an eye on achieving the next “centenary goal” of becoming a developed modern country by the time the People’s Republic of China turns 100 on Oct 1, 2049, delegates will also look back on the nation’s achievements since the 18th Party Congress, which ran from Nov 8-14, 2012, and historic changes that took place in the past decade.

The 18th Party Congress marked the beginning of the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics as the nation pulled off some historic breakthroughs or advancements in a broad range of important areas of socioeconomic development. By maintaining a brisk pace of its economic growth and long-term social stability, the nation has earned the distinction of “the Chinese miracle”. For example, China’s average economic growth in the past 10 years stood at around 6.6 percent and remained the main growth engine of the global economy. Its aggregate economy has increased in value from 53.9 trillion yuan ($7.51 trillion) in 2012 to 114.4 trillion yuan last year, accounting for 11.4 percent of the world’s total in 2012 to over 18 percent in 2021, while its per capita gross domestic product rose from $6,300 in 2012 to more than $12,000 in 2021. Even more impressive is that China’s ranking on the global innovation index jumped from 34th in 2012 to 12th last year.

All the great changes in the new era are of monumental significance in the history of the Chinese nation, thanks to the strong leadership of the CPC. Since the People’s Republic of China was established 73 years ago but particularly since the reform and opening-up drive was officially launched in 1978, the CPC has made a series of milestone achievements and breakthroughs in the development of its governance philosophy and system innovation. The nation, meanwhile, has been consistently advancing its modernization, also known as the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, gathering precious experience in maintaining strong system integrity, material foundation and spiritual power along the way.

In Hong Kong, the practice of “one country, two systems” has made new achievements in the past few years. Particularly noteworthy is that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has weathered the impacts of a “color revolution”, instigated by the anti-China forces in 2019; and the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, which has yet to end. Over the past few years, the central government’s comprehensive jurisdiction over the HKSAR has been effectively implemented, while the HKSAR’s high degree of autonomy has been properly exercised according to the constitutional order. All these new milestones would not have been possible had the central authorities not enacted the National Security Law for Hong Kong and initiated an overhaul of its electoral system through local legislation. The new laws turned over a new leaf in implementing “patriots administering Hong Kong”. Since the 18th CPC Congress in 2012, the central government has remained firmly committed to implementing “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong and taken necessary measures to address crucial issues in response to changes in the internal and external environment of the HKSAR as fresh challenges arose for the exercise of “one country, two systems”, helping Hong Kong overcome chaos and restore stability as well as healthy development.

Those trying times and difficult experiences led many Hong Kong residents to realize the strong CPC leadership and the country are the ultimate support for the city to lean on, as permanently enshrined in the country’s Constitution and the Basic Law of the HKSAR. The Constitution recognizes the CPC as the country’s governing party, which is the most essential characteristic of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and the overarching national condition of China. Without correctly understanding what the CPC is all about, one cannot see the profound philosophy of “one country, two systems” or the inherent logic of the relationship between the central government’s comprehensive jurisdiction over the HKSAR and the latter’s high degree of autonomy, all of which determine Hong Kong’s unique place in the country and its significant role in the nation’s development.

Currently, with unreserved support from the central government, Hong Kong is aligning its own development with the national development strategy, stepping up exchanges and cooperation with other economies around the world while advancing its own reforms, such as exploring ways to ease pandemic restrictions and quarantine rules, so as to resume normal business activities.

The 20th Party Congress is expected to come up with an updated blueprint for the country’s development for the next five years and beyond, ushering the country’s modernization drive into a new stage. Hong Kong, being an important part of overall national development, is to play an increasingly significant role. Hong Kong must seize the opportunities to be brought about by the 20th Party Congress by playing the roles of a proactive participant in the country’s “internal circulation” process and an enabler in the “external process” of economic development, putting into full use its advantages. Hong Kong’s proactive participation in national development will not only inject new vitality into its own economy, but promote industrial upgrading and economic transformation while making new contributions to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The author is a current-affairs commentator.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.