Aerial photo taken on July 16, 2020 shows peaceful view of Wan Chai, China's Hong Kong. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)
-- With Hong Kong's GDP expected to contract 6.1 percent this year, the economic development of the mainland will inject impetus to relaunch the economy of Hong Kong;
-- The HKSAR government has identified 330 hectares of land required to meet the demand for about 301,000 public housing units in the coming 10 years;
-- Over the past four months, the national security law in the HKSAR has been remarkably effective in restoring stability in Hong Kong.
HONG KONG, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam delivered the 2020 policy address Wednesday at a meeting of the HKSAR Legislative Council, highlighting support from the central authorities for Hong Kong to overcome the economic recession.
The policy address, the fourth one since Lam took office in 2017, came as Hong Kong strives to recover from the impacts of prolonged social unrest and the COVID-19 epidemic.
As Hong Kong experienced multiple blows from social unrest to the epidemic, the primary objective of the policy address is to look at ways to get Hong Kong out of the impasse and to restore confidence, Lam said.
Lam had delayed the release of the policy address, originally scheduled in mid-October, to include supportive measures from the central government for Hong Kong to bring new impetus into the battered economy.
At Wednesday's meeting, Lam cited favorable policies by the central government for Hong Kong to further integrate into the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, consolidate Hong Kong's status as an international financial center, and boost the development of innovation and technology.
Lam in particular mentioned the innovation and technology cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and said Guangdong and Shenzhen governments will support a program of the HKSAR government to help Hong Kong young people to work in mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is seen in the morning sunshine, Dec. 27, 2017. (Xinhua/Liang Xu)
With Hong Kong's GDP expected to contract 6.1 percent this year, Lam pointed out that the economic development of the mainland will inject impetus to relaunch the economy of Hong Kong.
As the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) states a new development pattern featuring "dual circulation," which takes the domestic market as the mainstay while enabling domestic and foreign markets to interact positively with each other, the opportunities for Hong Kong are evident, Lam said.
Hong Kong can focus on the business opportunities in the mainland market, better integrate into the overall development of the country, take the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development as an entry point, and proactively become a "participant" in domestic circulation and a "facilitator" in international circulation, Lam said, adding, "Playing the dual role well will bring continuous impetus to Hong Kong's economy."
IMPROVING PEOPLE'S LIVELIHOOD
The HKSAR government will implement measures to further improve people's livelihood, from increasing land supplies to building a caring community and looking after the underprivileged, according to the policy address.
Lam said the government has identified 330 hectares of land required to meet the demand for about 301,000 public housing units in the coming 10 years.
Recurrent government expenditures on social welfare and health care have increased from 65.3 billion Hong Kong dollars and 62.6 billion Hong Kong dollars in 2017-2018 to 93.9 billion Hong Kong dollars and 87.1 billion Hong Kong dollars in 2020-2021, respectively, with average annual increases of 12.9 percent and 11.6 percent, Lam said.
Lam added that additional funding of 300 billion Hong Kong dollars has been earmarked for the development of public health care facilities and health care teaching facilities.
People walk in the street at Tsim Sha Tsui in China's Hong kong on July 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)
As Hong Kong's labor market has come under immense pressure due to the epidemic, the government will "make every effort to restore the economy, create more jobs, increase training and retraining opportunities, step up manpower matching and enhance the safety net of the social welfare system," Lam said.
Lam highlighted measures to create more job opportunities in green, construction and creative sectors, among others, which are particularly suitable for young people graduating in recent years.
SAFEGUARDING NATIONAL SECURITY, UPHOLDING "ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS"
When delivering the policy address, Lam said over the past four months, the national security law in the HKSAR has been remarkably effective in restoring stability in Hong Kong.
On June 30, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed the national security law in the HKSAR and included it in Annex III to the HKSAR Basic Law. The national security law took effect in Hong Kong on the same day.
Photo taken on July 14, 2020 shows the Golden Bauhinia Square in China's Hong Kong. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaochu)
The advocacy of "Hong Kong independence" and collusions with external forces have progressively subsided, Lam said, citing radical organizations ceasing operation or dissolving, suspects of violating the law absconding, and street violence significantly on the decline.
Under the national security law, the principle of respecting and protecting human rights will be upheld and the legitimate rights of Hong Kong residents to exercise their freedom of speech, press, assembly, demonstration and procession will not be affected, Lam said.
The Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR with Lam as the chair will do the utmost to effectively prevent, suppress and punish acts and activities that endanger national security, Lam said.
Under the constitutional function of "dual responsibility," the chief executive is responsible to both the HKSAR and the central government and is required to comprehensively, accurately and firmly implement the "one country, two systems" principle and uphold the Basic Law, Lam added. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.75 Hong Kong dollars) ■