Actress perform during a rally to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China at the Foley Square in New York, the United States, June 25, 2017. Over 10,000 Chinese Americans gathered downtown here Sunday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
NEW YORK, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Over 10,000 Chinese Americans gathered downtown here Sunday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.
"We American Chinese in NYC rallied exactly here on July 1, 1997 when China resumed exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. The parade (before the rally) lasted several kilometers. It's such a touching moment that all of us will never forget," said Liang Guanjun, head of the U.S. East Coast Chinese Association Federation, in his opening remarks to the gathering at the Foley Square in Lower Manhattan Sunday afternoon.
Liang also praised Hong Kong's continued economic and social growth while speaking to a big round of cheers and applauses from Chinese Americans waving both China's national flags and flags of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
Liang's remarks were echoed by all other speakers during the event including Zhang Qiyue, Chinese consul general in New York and Margaret Chin, member of New York City Council, and Felix W. Ortiz, assistant speaker of the New York State Assembly.
Zhang said it has been proven the implementation of the Basic Law of the HKSAR helped the "Peal of the Orient" remain competitive.
Enacted in accordance with China's Constitution, the Basic Law specifies the guidelines of "one country, two systems" and "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" with a high degree of autonomy.
The Chinese diplomat said she believes Hong Kong will enhance its role as international finance center taking advantages of the vast opportunities brought about by China's development programs, including the Belt and Road Initiative.
Chin said, "Hong Kong has changed a lot over the past two decades, it is a much better place than the one I lived in."
"As a native of Hong Kong, I am very grateful to the central government; I believe, too, Hong Kong's tomorrow will be better," Chin added.
Ortiz, who has been to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai many times, said he is confident that Hong Kong will maintain its momentum of economic growth.