Li Ka-shing

Li Ka-shing

Hong Kong can’t go it alone, says Li Ka-shing

City’s richest man believes most people do not support the idea of independence

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 March, 2016, 11:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2016, 9:40am

Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, said the idea of independence from the mainland was far-fetched and the conditions do not exist for the city to go it alone.

Speaking to media after his two flagship companies, CK Hutchison and Cheung Kong Property, announced earnings, Li said he did not think most Hong Kong people would support the idea of independence.

“I personally, like most Hong Kong people, do not like the idea of independence from the mainland.The idea of independence appears quite far-fetched from reality.”

Li had faced the wrath of state media late last year after he sold assets on the mainland, with published commentaries accusing him of abandoning the country, while many unfavourable comments also appeared on social media.

His latest remarks came a day after a senior legal official from Beijing had dismissed calls from some in Hong Kong to turn the city into an independent sovereign state in 2047, when the Sino-British Joint Declaration expires.

Qiao Xiaoyang, head of the National People’s Congress Law Committee and a former Basic Law Committee chairman, said on Wednesday Hong Kong did not have the conditions to ­become independent.

Li also highlighted the importance of the relationship between Hong Kong and the mainland.

“If Hong Kong did not have China’s support, I believe the Hang Seng Index would have dropped at least 50 per cent from the current level, “ Li said.

“I believe the central government always wants Hong Kong to do well,” he said.

Speaking on the rise of localism, Li said: “Hong Kong has been a part of China since ancient times. If you are a young person, your future wife may be from ­Inner Mongolia or northeast China. Nowadays there is not really much local identity anymore. One country is one country.

“Premier Li Keqiang has repeated ‘One Country, Two Systems’ [during the two sessions]. He did not have to repeatedly say that if they wanted to make a change.”

Asked about Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s performance, Li said : “He has tried very hard.”

Li also warned Hong Kong’s politicians not to harm the city’s future.

“No matter what political parties you belong to, what political views you have, do not do anything that will harm Hong Kong further,” he said, adding that Hong Kong in some aspects was already behind other countries.