People wave national flags at the Peak in Hong Kong on Sep 29, 2019. Hundreds of compatriots sang the national anthem and waved flags ahead of China's National Day. [Photo/Agencies] "Patriots governing Hong Kong" is the core of "one country, two systems", a senior official on Hong Kong and Macao affairs said on Monday. Xia Baolong, head of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, gave a speech at a symposium in Beijing on Monday that centered on improving the institutional framework of "one country, two systems" and implementing the fundamental principle of "patriots governing Hong Kong". Xia said President Xi Jinping stressed, while hearing Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's 2020 work report, that "patriots governing Hong Kong" must be upheld to ensure the steady implementation of "one country, two systems". This statement is the "profound revelation" on "one country, two systems" and provides a direction for the long-term stability of Hong Kong, he added. Xia, who is also a vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said "patriots governing Hong Kong "means that the political power of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must be in the hands of patriots. He said former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping made it clear decades ago when he initiated the "one country, two systems" principle that "the boundary and criterion for Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong is that Hong Kong must be governed mostly by patriots". The return of Hong Kong to the motherland meant that the Chinese government had taken over sovereignty over Hong Kong and the right to govern Hong Kong had returned to the Chinese people, Xia said. Sovereignty and the right to rule are inseparable. Only when the right to govern Hong Kong is in the hands of Chinese people who love the motherland and love Hong Kong will China's sovereignty over Hong Kong be reflected, he said, adding that all those who govern Hong Kong must deeply agree that "one country" is the premise and foundation of "two systems", and resolutely oppose foreign interference in Hong Kong's affairs. "One country, two systems" has strong vitality and will always be adhered to alongside the policies of "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and the high degree of autonomy, he said. However, the implementation of the principle has not always been smooth. Anti-China disrupters and radical Hong Kong separatists have entered the governance structure of the region through various elections, including the Legislative Council, the Chief Executive Election Committee and District Councils, and used those platforms to resist the central government, incite discontent toward the Chinese mainland, obstruct the administration of the SAR government and undermine the well-being of Hong Kong people, he said. One of the major reasons that these rebellious forces could become so rampant was that "patriots governing Hong Kong "had not been fully implemented. He said patriots are bound to sincerely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests and respect the fundamental system of the State. In the political structure of the region, those who hold important positions, wield important powers and shoulder important responsibilities must be genuine patriots.