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U.S. official: One country, Two systems success for HK

    HONG KONG, June 13 (Xinhua) -- "Looking back over the last 10 years, the United States believes that 'One country, Two systems' has been a success for Hong Kong and for China," U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong James B. Cunningham said here Wednesday.

   "After 10 years, Hong Kong remains the most open and developed part of China," said Cunningham at a luncheon hosted by The Better Hong Kong Foundation.

    Over the past 10 years, Hong Kong, like much of the rest of Asia, had faced its share of trials. But Hong Kong had been able to rebound - decidedly so, he said, adding that economic growth over the last three years has been strong and Hong Kong's role as an international financial center has strengthened.

    The Chinese Central Government had acted over the years in concrete ways to support Hong Kong's economic development and prosperity, the Consul General said, citing the closer economic partnership arrangement between Hong Kong and the Mainland, the introduction and expansion of the individual visitor scheme that allow mainlanders to visit Hong Kong freely, the growing cooperation within the Pan-Pearl River Delta region and the liberalization of rules on the use of renminbi in business and finance.

    He said that these remain important elements of Hong Kong's past and future economic success. "Importantly, though, Hong Kong serves as an example of more than just an economic success story."

    Hong Kong remains a model Chinese society that observes the rule of law, follows free and fair market principles, allows unfettered entrepreneurial activity, and respects freedom and human rights, including religious freedom, he said.

    "Its political system is evolving, and public participation in civic affairs is growing," he noted.

    Before and since 1997, the implementation of this historic experiment of "One country, Two systems" had been of great interest to the international community, he said, adding that after 10 years, the U.S. continues to have great hopes for Hong Kong's future.

    "This is more than a thing of mere words, because the U.S. has a measurable stake in Hong Kong's success," he said.

    As Asia's world city, Hong Kong plays an important role which benefits China, the U.S. and many others in the globalized, interdependent 21st century, he said.

    America itself has no small stake in Hong Kong. It is America's15th largest export market. 60,000 U.S. citizens reside here, and a million more Americans visit each year. 1,200 U.S. firms have local and regional offices here and U.S. direct investment in Hong Kong totals 38 billion U.S. dollars.

    "The United States' vision for Hong Kong's future is bright indeed. We see a Hong Kong that is part of a prosperous, stable, and confident China, and which contributes to its country and the world by continuing to be a leading light in economic freedoms, civil liberties and respect for human rights."

    "We see a Hong Kong that continues to adapt and respond to changes, a Hong Kong whose government has found the legitimacy that comes from popular elections. We envision a Hong Kong that draws strength from its Chinese heritage as well as its Western heritage, a Hong Kong that has found its own voice, and is a positive, dynamic force in China's development on all fronts," he said.

    He said that polls show the Hong Kong people are generally optimistic about the future and about their role in China.

    "The United States shares that optimism and congratulates Hong Kong on being on the path to success. We have strong expectations that Hong Kong will continue on that high road," the Consul General said.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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