As Hong Kong people celebrated this year's National Day, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the Special Administrative Region has truly gotten on the right track of "one country, two systems".
Hong Kong is in its best position to leverage its unique advantages under "one country, two systems" and integrate into national development under the double safeguards of the National Security Law and an improved electoral system, she said at a reception on Friday celebrating the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Noting the central government's unwavering support, Lam vowed to take a firm stance in protecting national security and implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong".
Festivity was in the air in Hong Kong on National Day. A flag-raising ceremony and reception were held in Wan Chai in the morning. They were attended by many high-level Hong Kong and central government officials, including Lam and Luo Huining, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR.
Flag-raising ceremonies were held at primary and secondary schools and universities and at the central government authorities' offices.
Hong Kong residents displayed a huge national flag in the shopping and nightlife district of Tsim Sha Tsui in honor of the country's birthday. A bus with a celebratory banner paraded through the city. Many people could be seen jogging with a national flag in hand.
Several Hong Kong government officials visited grassroots communities on Friday to listen to their concerns and to extend holiday wishes.
Nury Vitacchi, a veteran Hong Kong-based journalist, was struck by how joyous the atmosphere of National Day was this year, in sharp contrast with two years ago, when Hong Kong was roiled by violent protests. He said shopkeepers near his office were happily putting up national flags to celebrate the holiday and recalled that two years ago, people were afraid to do so.
At one of the festivities, Vanessa Wang, a 26-year-old Hong Kong native who works in Shanghai, said she was glad to return to the city and celebrate this important day with so many other Hong Kong people.
She mentioned the central government's new policies supporting Hong Kong youth in developing in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and said they will benefit young people immensely and enable them to gain valuable experience by joining industries with bright futures.