Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday that Hong Kong's role as an international financial, shipping and trade center can not be replaced by any other places.
"At this moment, Hong Kong is at a critical period of further growth," Wen told a press conference following the closure of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), or China's top legislature.
Hong Kong has a very unique geographical advantage; it has the freest economy in the world; and it has extensive links with the rest of the world and a full-fledged legal system, Wen said.
"The past decade since Hong Kong' return has been an extraordinary period," Wen said, adding that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has united all people in Hong Kong to overcome a number of difficulties such as the Asian financial turmoil, and that Hong Kong has stabilized, recovered and grown its economy.
The well-being of Hong Kong people has continued to improve, he added.
Over the past ten years, the Chinese central government has unswervingly implemented the principles of "one country two systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, he said.
"And we have strictly followed the Basic Law. We have not intervened in the matters that fall into the jurisdiction of the Hong Kong SAR government," the premier said.