Premier Li Keqiang (right) meets with Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu in Beijing on Thursday. Lee is in Beijing to report on the work of the special administrative region government over the past year. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The central government acknowledges the hard work of Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu and Macao SAR Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng in reviving their economies and improving livelihoods, and hopes that the two special administrative regions integrate into the development of the country, Premier Li Keqiang said when meeting Lee and Ho separately in Beijing during their duty visits.

In the past six months, Lee has led the Hong Kong SAR government in actively responding to the concerns of the community and restoring the city’s economy, and the central government fully recognizes his government’s work, Li said.

Li added that the central government has always been consistent in fully and unswervingly upholding the principles of “one country, two systems” and “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy”

Li added that the central government has always been consistent in fully and unswervingly upholding the principles of “one country, two systems” and “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy”. It also has exercised overall jurisdiction over the Hong Kong SAR and rendered full support to the law-based governance of the SAR government, in the hope of maintaining the city’s long-term stability and prosperity.

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“The destiny of Hong Kong and its motherland are closely intertwined”, Li said.

He said he hopes that the Hong Kong government leverages Hong Kong’s strengths to serve the needs of the country and to give full play to the unique advantages of Hong Kong when integrating into the development of the country, and strengthen its position as an international financial, trade, and shipping hub.

Lee thanked Li for his encouragement, care and support for Hong Kong.

Since taking office, Lee and his team have shared the goal of developing the economy and improving people’s livelihoods, under a result- oriented approach and in a pragmatic manner, Lee said.

In meeting Ho, Li affirmed Ho’s efforts in leading the Macao SAR government to take swift action to stabilize the economy, save jobs, and improve livelihoods, allowing the city to maintain steady development.

Looking forward, Li expressed his hopes for Ho to forge ahead in the face of daunting challenges and uphold national strategies, especially in the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, to develop the economy and improve people’s living standards and maintain the city’s long-term stability and prosperity.

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Li also asked Ho to continue to fully implement and steadfastly uphold the principle of “one country, two systems”, “Macao people administering Macao with a high degree of autonomy”, and better the city’s rule of law and law-based governance.

Ho briefed the premier on the Macao SAR government’s work in the past year, saying the government has proactively planned and implemented national strategies and effectively advanced work relating to various projects and controlled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ho also pledged to render full support to the nation’s new development landscape, stabilize the economy and actively engage in national development strategies.

Lau Siu-kai, the vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies — a national think tank, said Li’s affirmation of Lee’s work is also in recognition of the central government’s efforts to right the wrongs that have occurred in Hong Kong in the past few years, which has laid the ground for patriots to administer Hong Kong.

In the past half year, Hong Kong has seen good executive-legislative rapport and a sharp drop in political conflict, creating a good foundation for the SAR government to administer the city, Lau said.

In Lau’s opinion, the central government has a clear direction for Hong Kong’s future development. Hong Kong should leverage the opportunities brought by the nation’s development to speed up its integration into the nation. On the other hand, Hong Kong should continue to give full play to its inherent advantages to assist the nation in exploring its room for development internationally against the backdrop of deglobalization and Western oppression.

Lau said he believes that there is a greater chance that Hong Kong will resume free-flow travel with the Chinese mainland in the near future, as this is not only about addressing the needs of Hong Kong, but an essential step of the country’s toward restoring  connectivity with the rest of the world.

Lee and Ho embarked on their duty visits to Beijing on Wednesday. Both are expected to end their visits on Saturday.

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