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Ambassador Wang Lutong attends the reception in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China

On 21 July, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) in Sydney held a reception in Auckland to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China. Ambassador Wang Lutong attended the reception and delivered a speech. Mr Arthur Au, Director of HKETO in Sydney, and Hon Judith Collins, Minister for Ethnic Communities, also made their addresses respectively. Over 150 people attended the event, including Rt. Hon. David Carter, the Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives; Dr Yang Jian, Chair of New Zealand–Hong Kong Friendship Group in New Zealand Parliament; officials from New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Auckland City Council; and overseas Chinese.

Ambassador Wang Lutong noted that over the past 20 years since its return to China, Hong Kong has entered a new era of greater prosperity and development. Hong Kong's total economic volume has doubled with its per capita GDP ranking at the top of the world's major economies. Hong Kong was consecutively ranked as the world's most competitive economy, backed up by remarkable progress achieved in all sectors. Over the past 20 years, the practice of 'One Country, Two Systems' in Hong Kong is a success story recognized by all. Hong Kong has successfully maintained its characteristics and advantages, and is becoming more and more vibrant and dynamic. With strong support of the Central Government and the efforts by the wider community in Hong Kong, Hong Kong successfully overcame the Asian financial crisis, the SARS epidemic and the international financial crisis. The Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) signed in 2003 has contributed to the steady growth of Hong Kong's economy over the years. In the past 20 years, China's diplomatic system has handled tens of thousands of consular protection cases involving Hong Kong people, effectively safeguarding the safety and legitimate interests of tens of thousands of Hong Kong compatriots travelling overseas. Over the same period, Hong Kong, as a special administrative region of China, has increased external interactions and raised its international profile. Its status as an international financial, shipping and trading center has been further consolidated. It is more convenient for the residents of the HKSAR to travel overseas, and Hong Kong has become more attractive as an international metropolis.

Ambassador Wang noted that, not long ago, President Xi Jinping attended the Meeting Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong's Return to the Motherland and the Inaugural Ceremony of the Fifth-Term Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and delivered an important speech. President Xi's remarks help to plan Hong Kong's future development, draw a consensus to enhance Hong Kong's social solidarity and instill confidence and strength to implement 'One Country, Two Systems' more effectively to scale new heights in Hong Kong's development. With China marching toward prosperity, the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development policy arrangements have provided great development opportunities for Hong Kong in exploring new directions, seeking new impetus and expanding into new space and will lead Hong Kong into a glorious new era.

Mr Arthur Au noted that, in the past 20 years, the successful practice of 'One Country, Two Systems' has laid a solid foundation for Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. The Free Trade Agreement between Hong Kong and New Zealand has further strengthened the economic ties between the two sides and provided new opportunities for New Zealand companies to enter the Asian market through Hong Kong. Mr Au believes that the continuous development of China–New Zealand relations will provide Hong Kong with more development opportunities for a better future.

Hon Minister Collins noted that she has a special affinity with Hong Kong as her wedding ceremony was held there. Hong Kong is one of New Zealand's most important trading partners. In recent years, bilateral relations have been further consolidated and deepened with closer cooperation in various fields. The New Zealand Government values its relations with Hong Kong and will continue to work for the development of relations with China and Hong Kong to benefit the two peoples.

At the reception, an art troupe from Hong Kong staged wonderful performances including Cantonese opera.

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