BEIJING, May 8 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of China's State Council on Sunday said Hong Kong has taken a fresh look with a new electoral system and is poised for a brighter future at a new starting point.
The office expressed the view in an article released after John Lee won the election of the six-term chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) with an overwhelming majority of votes. It extended congratulations to Lee on winning the election.
The chief executive election represented another successful practice of the HKSAR's new electoral system after the Election Committee elections last September and the election of the seventh-term Legislative Council last December, the office said.
It has been proved by solid facts that the new system is a good one that follows the "one country, two systems" principle and is suited to Hong Kong's realities, the office said.
Facts will also prove that the newly elected chief executive will certainly lead the new team of the HKSAR government and people from all sectors of society to stay united and strive for new prospects of good governance in Hong Kong at a new starting point, it added.
SUCCESSFUL ELECTION WITH NEW LOOK
The election is the first HKSAR chief executive election held after Hong Kong's transition from chaos to order. It is of great significance and far-reaching influence and has drawn wide attention.
The office hailed Sunday's election a complete success, saying it was achieved with the joint efforts of the HKSAR government and all sectors of society by conducting the election in strict accordance with the Basic Law of the HKSAR, relevant decisions of the National People's Congress and its standing committee, and relevant electoral laws of the HKSAR, and by overcoming the impact of COVID-19.
"The election process was orderly, fair, safe, clean and with numerous highlights," it said.
The election has focused on development and people's well-being and brought together strong positive energy, said the office, noting that the goals and tenets of vision put forward by Lee in his announcement of his candidacy have aroused strong response and broad resonance in Hong Kong.
Recognizing the extensive and in-depth public participation in the election, the office said it fully demonstrates democracy. Since Lee announced his candidacy, he has made intensive visits to people from all walks of life, conducted online exchanges of views, and visited communities to extensively collect public opinions and introduce his election vision and manifesto.
It can be said that the process for Lee to form and introduce his election manifesto was a process of democratic consultation in Hong Kong society.
Lee has got wide support, the office said, noting that he was elected with 99.16 percent of the votes, which fully reflects the high recognition he gained in Hong Kong society.
It is widely believed that Lee, who was promoted from a front-line police officer to chief secretary for administration of the HKSAR government, has rich grassroots experience and strong enforcement ability. He has taken a firm stand and stood the test with courage and sense of responsibility in the process of stopping violence and chaos and implementing the law on safeguarding national security in the HKSAR.
The general public in Hong Kong has full trust in and high expectations on Lee, believing that he can recruit talent to form a new administration team of the HKSAR government, achieve the goals with decisive administration, improve governance with an open mind, sincerely serve the public, and unite all sectors of society to write a new chapter.
Throughout the whole process of the chief executive election, there was no longer wanton confrontation or arbitrary attacks and smears.
The election is the true embodiment of the spirit of democracy, the office said.
ADVANTAGES OF ELECTORAL SYSTEM SHOWN
The success of the election, the office noted, has once again proved the advanced nature and strengths of the new electoral system of the HKSAR.
In strictly implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong," the new electoral system ensures the election of talented patriots administering Hong Kong, the office said.
President Xi Jinping has stressed that to ensure the steady practice of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong in the long run, the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" must be always upheld, it noted.
"The criteria for a patriot are objective and clear," the office said. "A patriot is one who sincerely safeguards China's national sovereignty, security and development interests, respects and upholds the fundamental system of the country and the constitutional order in the HKSAR, and goes all out for prosperity and stability in Hong Kong."
By preventing the forces that oppose China and seek to destabilize Hong Kong from participating in the HKSAR's government system, the new electoral system can ensure that the people elected to key public offices of the HKSAR are all firm patriots, the office said.
The new electoral system of the HKSAR is committed to the building and development of a high-quality democracy with Hong Kong characteristics where the position of Hong Kong people as their own masters is fully guaranteed, the office said.
The advantages and unique features of the new electoral system have been fully demonstrated in the three elections, it noted.
First, it is broadly representative. Those who got elected are from various social groups, sectors and backgrounds and include a number of community-level and young people. They can extensively solicit opinions from the public and help smooth the operation of channels for different groups to make their voices heard about their rights and interests.
Second, it is politically inclusive. Participants represent various political groups, espousing different political philosophies. Upholding the principle of loving the country and Hong Kong, the new electoral system has ensured inclusiveness and diversity to the greatest possible extent.
Third, it ensures balanced participation. The design of the new electoral system for the HKSAR ensures balanced political participation and takes into consideration the different interests of all sectors of Hong Kong community, better striking a balance among the overall interest of Hong Kong and the interests of various sectors and different areas.
Fourth, it guarantees fair competition. The candidates try their best to convince voters by focusing on their competitiveness in professional ability, election manifesto, idea, sense of responsibility and contribution, making the election more rational, fairer and better-organized. In that way, the new electoral system ensures that the process reflects popular will, pools people's wisdom and serves the good of the public. It is a broad-based and real democracy that works.
The office said the new electoral system is conducive to upholding the executive-led system while improving the efficiency in administration. Hong Kong practices the executive-led system with the chief executive at its core, and the new electoral system helps to end the long-standing conflict between the legislative and executive agencies and solve the strife within the Legislative Council, enabling the HKSAR government and all sectors to concentrate on developing economy, improving people's livelihoods, and shoring up the region's strengths in global competition.
The office said the improved electoral system optimizes and enhances the democracy of the HKSAR, effectively underpinning the long-term peace, stability and development of Hong Kong.
HONG KONG POISED FOR BRIGHTER FUTURE
With the new electoral system put into full practice, the national security law in Hong Kong thoroughly implemented, and rectification carried out in key areas, Hong Kong's transition from chaos to order is further advanced, said the office. It added that the Hong Kong society now shows greater solidarity and harmony, and its business environment has been improved.
As long as the new HKSAR government and people from all walks of life in Hong Kong seize the historical opportunities, and endeavor against all odds, Hong Kong is certain to embrace an even brighter tomorrow, the office noted.
The conditions are in Hong Kong's favor. With the new electoral system in place, more patriots with outstanding capabilities are entering the administration structure of the HKSAR, forming a patriotic, responsible and united administrative team that serves the people.
Hong Kong maintains its outstanding advantages. The Chinese central government unswervingly implements the principle of "one country, two systems" and opens up wider to the world. In this process, Hong Kong's unique status and functions are certain to be strengthened, instead of being weakened.
Hong Kong has great opportunities. By integrating itself more into the overall national development, Hong Kong will see more space for development. The central government fully supports Hong Kong in participating in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road cooperation. In the meantime, the country's 14th Five-Year Plan specifically underscores the support for Hong Kong in elevating its position as an international center of finance, shipping and trade, and an international air traffic hub, among others.
Hong Kong's development is safeguarded by the central government. Whenever Hong Kong faces difficulties, the motherland always reaches out a helping hand. For instance, in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, the central government fully supported Hong Kong's battle against the virus with decisive measures.
Hong Kong's new starting point coincides with the country's new journey toward the second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects, said the office. It noted that this will surely create great synergy for development.
In China's journey toward national rejuvenation, Hong Kong can not and will not be absent, stressed the office.
"The 'Pearl of the Orient' will definitely shine brighter and adorn the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation," the office added. ■