Innovation key for Guangdong, says governor
Denise Tsang and Ivan Zhai
Guangdong will push ahead with the development of innovation and service industries while combating pollution, according to Governor Huang Huahua's work report, which was leaked to the South China Morning Post.
Mr Huang, who is to deliver the report at the Guangdong 11th People's Congress today, vows to intensify the transformation of the province's low-value, goods-manufacturing base into a service-and-technology-oriented, high-value-added and environmentally friendly economy.
He also vows to lift the protection level of intellectual property rights (IPR) to promote economic change.
Despite his ambitious social-economic agenda, Mr Huang faces a challenging mission - spurring economic growth by 9 per cent while keeping inflation below 4 per cent amid the nation's tightening macroeconomic regime.
Mr Huang says in the report that '2008 is a meaningful year, marking the beginning of a new team of government officials and the 30th anniversary of the country's reform'.
Meanwhile, Guangdong party chief Wang Yang yesterday talked to the provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegates face to face for the first time since taking office.
He advised the CPPCC to be a platform for what he called a 'thought-liberation movement'.
After hearing dozens of proposals from delegates, Mr Wang gave a speech of more than 40 minutes in which he expressed his wishes and gave advice to the conference.
He described the CPPCC as a 'hub of talent' that could help the government drive its reform forward. During the command-economy era, he said, all official documents were orders that could not be altered. Now the delegates have more room to add their own opinions.
'You can even give suggestions for Governor Huang Huahua's work report,' he said. Some delegates had complained that the government did not always carry out their excellent proposals, he said.
Hong Kong-Guangdong CPPCC members welcomed Mr Wang's speech, saying they were pleased by his concern.
Wu Xiaoli a well-known news presenter with Hong Kong's Phoenix TV and a delegate, said Mr Wang had been taking notes while listening to proposals, and gave feedback to most speakers. 'I think his speech was close to the proposals we made, and he was sincere enough to say that he didn't yet know a lot about Guangdong,' she said.
Another delegate, Michael Tien Puk-sun, head of fashion retailer G2000 Group and former chairman of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, said Mr Wang was serious about Hong Kong delegates' comments and proposals, ranging from pollution to energy-saving and IPR.
Mr Tien yesterday urged Mr Wang to place more emphasis on IPR protection. Despite the province's policy of favouring innovative industries such as design, advertising, architecture and software development, he said the country's legal system and expertise in resolving IPR disputes must be improved to allow greater protection for copyright.
'Copyright protection is an important issue. I am confident that Mr Wang will bring this to Beijing,' Mr Tien said.
Mr Tien conceded that his proposal was triggered by a recent legal dispute involving the G2000 trademark.
Last week, a Hangzhou court ordered G2000 to stop manufacturing and selling fashion accessories under the G2000 brand on the mainland after the group lost in a civil suit to Hangzhou businessman Zhou Hua for infringement of Mr Zhou's registered trademark.
In the biggest fine the court has handed down, G2000 was fined 20 million yuan for the infringement, which Mr Tien said the group would appeal against.