One Country, Two Systems, 25 Years On

19 July 2022

Hong Kong’s return to China has brought enormous benefits to the city’s development in all aspects

On July 1, 1997, the Chinese Government resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was established. The concept of One Country, Two Systems was applied to its governance. This year, Hong Kong is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its return to the motherland. Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a visit to the HKSAR to commemorate this milestone and inaugurate the sixth-term government of the HKSAR. One Country, Two Systems is a unique Chinese innovation which sets out to integrate the capitalist market system of Hong Kong with the ideals of socialism with Chinese characteristics of the Chinese mainland.

The One Country, Two Systems is playing an important role in keeping Hong Kong in prosperity after it returned to China 25 years ago. It is also commendable how the Chinese mainland is sharing the benefits brought about by its unprecedented development and economic growth with Hong Kong. The visionary gradual opening up of China started by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1970s has ushered the country into a dynamic modern technological age and made it an economic and industrial powerhouse. With the advancement came the benefits of many projects linked to logistics and infrastructure, travel and tourism, finance, real estate and shipping, among others.

Supported by the mainland’s remarkable progress, the GDP of Hong Kong grew to HK$2.86 trillion ($364 billion) in 2021, from HK$1.37 trillion ($165 billion) in 1997. During the same period, its total foreign trade in goods more than tripled to HK$10.27 trillion ($1.31 trillion). The success of the One Country, Two Systems policy is proven by Hong Kong’s economic and trade growth in the past 25 years. The policy also ensures the city’s security and stability. As President Xi said, the government of the HKSAR must be safely kept in the hands of those who love the country. There is no country or region in the world where its people will allow an unpatriotic or even treasonous force or figure to take power. The One Country, Two Systems can also be applied to Taiwan and enable a complete unification of China.

As the integration gathers pace after 25 years, the people of Hong Kong are finding a balance that will serve their best interests and that of the city of 7.5 million people. Hong Kong’s iconic cityscape, cosmopolitan streets and dynamic people have been the subject of many movies, media and art creations. It is the bustling global hub perfectly located by the South China Sea and gifted with a natural deep-water harbor in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. As a global financial center and a shipping node, Hong Kong has attracted skilled professionals, knowledgeable experts and seasoned business people. It remains the melting pot of Asia’s colorful and spirited culture that attracts millions of travelers and tourists every year.

China’s people-centered pragmatic approach to capital and resources underpins the journey to seek a fair and just order based on equality. The perceived clash of ideologies has uncovered valuable experience for all. The reforms carried out to modernize the socialism with Chinese characteristics in the country has catapulted the country to new heights in development and progress and positioned it among the leading ranks of advanced and industrialized nations of the world. It has mobilized the capacity and the will to fundamentally reform and revitalize the structures that has moved the nation toward a progressive trajectory.

K Bhana

This article was first published in ChinAfrica magazine