HONG KONG, July 1 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that his heart and that of the central government are "always with the Hong Kong compatriots," in a speech delivered upon arrival in the special administrative region.
This is Xi's second visit to Hong Kong as Chinese president, and one that has gained widespread international attention. He will attend a meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, as well as the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Friday. He will also inspect the HKSAR.
"It has been five years since my last visit to Hong Kong," said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, upon arrival at the West Kowloon high-speed rail station.
"Over the past five years, I have always been concerned about and caring for Hong Kong, and my heart and that of the central government are always with the Hong Kong compatriots," Xi said.
These words echoed the famous soundbite from his trip to Hong Kong five years ago, during which he said, "Hong Kong's development has always pulled at my heartstrings."
Over the years, Xi has repeatedly demonstrated his concern for the development of Hong Kong, as well as the well-being of the over 7 million Hong Kong residents. He has initiated projects integrating Hong Kong into the nation's development, interacted with Hong Kong people and encouraged entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams on the mainland.
After Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan alighted from the train, they were greeted by HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her husband Lam Siu-por.
Hundreds of young Hong Kong people and members of the public waved flags and flower bouquets at the welcoming ceremony, which featured lion dancing and a performance by the Hong Kong Police Band. Xi and Peng waved back at the welcoming crowd.
Speaking at the station, Xi congratulated the Hong Kong compatriots and extended his best wishes on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland.
He said that, over a period of time, Hong Kong had withstood a series of grave tests and overcome a series of risks and challenges, but it has since emerged stronger and shown great vigor.
Hong Kong has achieved a return to order and is now at a crucial stage of advancing toward further prosperity.
The facts have proven the great vitality of "one country, two systems," which guarantees Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability, and ensures the well-being of the Hong Kong compatriots, Xi said Thursday.
Xi stressed that as long as "one country, two systems" is upheld unswervingly, Hong Kong will surely have an even brighter future and make new, greater contributions to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Xi's schedule on Thursday also included meetings with Carrie Lam, Leung Chun-ying, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Ho Iat Seng, chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region, and a visit to the Hong Kong Science Park.
Lam expressed her heartfelt thanks to Xi for visiting Hong Kong amid the COVID-19 epidemic, saying the visit fully demonstrates Xi's care for the Hong Kong compatriots.