Hong Kong TVB: With TVB of Hong Kong. Mr. Premier, you visited Hong Kong in 2003. Much has changed since your last visit to Hong Kong. Now the Hong Kong people are having an election of a new Chief Executive. How do you see the election of new chief executive in Hong Kong SAR? In addition to the change brought by the change of the government and the European debt crisis to Hong Kong, what underlying problems do you think Hong Kong faces? How do you see the future development of Hong Kong?
Wen: I have deep love for Hong Kong. During my visit to Hong Kong back in 2003, I quoted a line from a poem written by Mr. Huang Zongxian to express how I feel about Hong Kong. He wrote, "every inch of the rivers and mountains and the land is precious, as precious as gold". 15 years have passed since Hong Kong returned to the motherland. What has happened in Hong Kong over the past 15 years has shown that the principle of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy has strong vitality.
In the past 15 years, Hong Kong has traveled a momentous course. It has encountered two financial crises. But under the leadership of the SAR government and with joint efforts of the Hong Kong compatriots, Hong Kong has successfully weathered the financial crises and sustained its status as an international financial center and still enjoys its sophisticated free economy. In 2011, the per capita GDP of Hong Kong reached a record high of US$34,200 and the employment situation there was in a positive shape. Hong Kong now faces both difficulties and opportunities. The financial crisis in the world and the European debt crisis still have exerted an adverse impact on Hong Kong and pressure is still there. Moreover, Hong Kong is under dual pressure of slowing economic growth and inflation. Under such circumstances, Hong Kong must continue to work hard to develop the economy, improve people's lives, advance democracy and maintain social harmony. In particular efforts should be made to address such important matters as social equity, consumer price hikes, people’s housing needs, education and people’s medical care on the priority basis.
The election of the fourth Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR is currently underway. I believe that as long as the principle of openness, justice and fairness is observed, and the relevant legal procedures are complied with, the Hong Kong people will elect a chief executive who enjoys the support of the majority of the people in Hong Kong.
It is true that Hong Kong faces some difficulties, but I cannot help but recall a remark made by Mr. Deng Xiaoping. He said, "there should be confidence that the Hong Kong people can run Hong Kong well".
I truly hope that I will have another opportunity to go to Hong Kong, to visit the residents in the Taoda residential area and to talk to the students of the University of Hong Kong. I would like to ask this journalist from Hong Kong to convey my best regards to the Hong Kong compatriots.
Washington Post: one year ago, you were asked by one of my colleagues about the possibility of elections in China. You said it had to come gradually step by step. The Chinese should first show that they can run a village and then a township. This year, people all over the world are electing their leaders in direct elections. That has had many people wondering and asking the question exactly: when will Chinese citizens enjoy the same right to elect their leaders in a competitive and direct election?
Wen: I have said on several occasions that we must adhere to the practice of self-governance by villagers in China and the villagers' lawful rights to directly elect the village committees must be protected. What has happened shows this has been a successful practice. The Chinese villagers have shown strong enthusiasm in participating in this process. And strict methods of election have been formulated on the basis of the Law of Self-governance by Villagers of China. I still believe that if the people are able to run the affairs of a village well, gradually they will be able to run the affairs of a township and then a county. We must continue to encourage the people to take bold steps to experiment and that can help enhance our people’s ability in this regard through practices. I believe that the democratic system of China will continue to keep moving forward in keeping with China's national conditions. And no force will be able to hold this process back. Thank you.