Honorable Vice-Chairman Henry Fok, Heads of local offices of the Central Government, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to join you all today to celebrate the 54th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
This year, the world has witnessed two major events in China: the change of state leadership and the combat against SARS. We rejoiced early this year as our new state leaders were inaugurated. No sooner had they taken office than SARS broke out. With determination, our leaders mobilised the whole nation to fight an arduous and soul-stirring battle against the disease, winning a significant victory at last. In the midst of this challenge, working from the solid foundation laid in past decades, our Central leadership has taken us to even greater heights. The economy has experienced rapid and healthy growth and is sustaining its momentum. Social and political stability throughout the country makes for a vibrant outlook. Building a well-off society for about 1.3 billion people is an impressive landmark in the history of the Chinese nation. Our pride and joy in this accomplishment is overwhelming.
Our great motherland is marching steadfastly on the path to success. Future development will be even more ambitious in approach, more massive in scale and more exacting in its standards. With the assiduity, courage and wisdom of the Chinese people, we are about to write a new and even more brilliant chapter in the lives of our 1.3 billion countrymen and the advancement of human civilization.
We are lucky to have returned to the motherland under "One Country, Two Systems" at the time of her rise to power. A strong and stable country developing in such a rapid and orderly way is not only a sound safeguard for Hong Kong's stability and prosperity; it opens up unprecedented opportunities to build an even better Hong Kong.
We are fully aware that our people expect the SAR Government, during its current term, to revitalise the economy, improve people's livelihood, improve standards of governance and promote democratic advancement according to the Basic Law. Indeed, our duties in these areas are unshirkable. The entire community shares the goals of ensuring social stability and grasping each and every opportunity to stimulate our economy. The SAR Government will do all it can to alleviate people's hardships by fostering steady economic advancement; to redress public grievances by improving governance; and to contribute further to the country and social solidarity by working with the people to achieve a better futrue. In particular, we must pursue our drive for closer economic partnership with Guangdong, Shanghai and the rest of the Mainland. We must speed up the infrastructural projects linking Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta. We must consolidate the benefits of the "individual visits to Hong Kong" programme. We must refine our fiscal policies and put forward initiatives to stabilize the property market, at the same time as we adopt other concrete and fast-yielding measures. We must strive to revive the economy and achieve successful economic restrcuturing.
Ladies and gentlemen, We are witnessing one of the most steady and enduring periods of peaceful reformation in contemporary Chinese history. The rise of the Chinese nation and the cause of "One Country, Two Systems" are leading Hong Kong into yet another era of prosperity. The people of Hong Kong are not only masters of Hong Kong's destiny, but of China's as well. The future of each individual in Hong Kong is linked to the future of Hong Kong as a whole, just as Hong Kong's future is linked to China's. I am confident that Hong Kong people will take up the role of master and capitalise on every opportunity to realise their visions, to work for a better Hong Kong and to pursue the glorious goal of national revival.
Now, please join me for a toast:
To the thriving prosperity of our motherland,
To the future success of Hong Kong, and
To the health and happiness of you all.