Jiang pledges non-interference from mainland officials in HK
CHRISTINE CHAN reports on the latest developments at the Beijing-Hong Kong
President Jiang Zemin reiterated that Hong Kong would continue to enjoy high post-handover autonomy and would be free from interference by mainland officials, according to business leaders who met him yesterday.
Trade Development Council deputy chief Dennis Yau, one of a 13-strong delegation who met the president, said Mr Jiang was concerned that visits by a large number of mainland officials to Hong Kong would create a wrong impression they were bothering the operation of the SAR.
Mr Jiang's message was that Beijing would have proper control on the flow of officials to Hong Kong, enabling it to run individually and freely, without intervention from the mainland, New World Development Co managing director Henry Cheng Kar-shun said.
Members of the delegation, which included Li Ka-shing and Lee Shau-kee, also raised the situation surrounding the Hong Kong stock market, which has recently seen high volatility, particularly in red chips.
Mr Jiang replied by saying that there were ups and downs in stock prices, and it was inevitable that investors and enterprises had to take risks for their investments, according to Mr Cheng.
Mr Jiang said Hong Kong had valuable experience in the stock market that the mainland should learn from, especially as the country was embarking on bolder reforms for its state enterprises, according to the delegates.
Hong Kong's role as a fund-raising venue for state enterprises was also re-emphasised.
The delegates told the president that they welcomed mainland-backed companies listing in Hong Kong, but that they had to come at the right time, and with the right sentiment, according to Mr Yau.
Chinese Manufacturers Association chairman Herbert Liang proposed during the meeting that there should be more technology exchanges with scientific and research experts on the mainland.