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H.K., Macao people could share glory of being Chinese: Hu.

HONG KONG, Nov. 8 Kyodo

Chinese President Hu Jintao said Thursday that Beijing's policies for Hong Kong and Macao aim to strengthen China's sovereignty in the two former European colonies, while he urged their people to "share the dignity and glory of being Chinese."

Speaking at the opening of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party, Hu said the principle of all directives and policies given by the central government to Hong Kong and Macao is "to protect state sovereignty, safety and development interests and to maintain the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao in the long run."

The congress, which is held every five years and will run through next Wednesday, will usher in a once-in-a-decade leadership change in which Hu will hand the post of party general secretary to Vice President Xi Jinping, who is currently in charge of the Hong Kong affairs.

Devoting part of the speech to the affairs of the two special administrative regions, Hu pledged support to the two administrations to develop economy, improve social livelihood, gradually push forward democracy and improve social harmony strictly according to the Basic Law.

The Basic Law is the mini-constitution that governs the territories since Hong Kong's handover in 1997 and Macao's in 1999.

Hu also urged boosting economic and trade relations and fostering state unity.

"We believe the people of Hong Kong and Macao can contribute to state affairs and share the dignity and glory of being Chinese with all people in different ethnic groups," he said.

On the sidelines of the congress, Li Gang, deputy director of the Central Liaison Office in Hong Kong, told Hong Kong media that now that the territory has returned to China after being colonized by Britain for more than 100 years, "The people should feel an ultimate glory of being Chinese now."

Li reiterated that it is the "constitutional duty" for Hong Kong to enact a national security law to stamp out secession and subversive activities, adding that the timing is up to the local administration.

A bungled attempt to enact such legislation in 2003 drew half a million people onto the streets to protest and caused a rift between Hong Kong and Beijing.

Macao passed such a law in 2009, but the Hong Kong government remains reluctant for a retry to avoid further fanning anti-China sentiment.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Geographic Code:9HONG
Date:Nov 12, 2012
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