In his new CPPCC role, Leung Chun-ying can help unite cities in the Pearl River Estuary

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 4:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 8:07pm

Soon after his election as a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on March 13, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was elected a vice-chairman of the CPPCC by a landslide vote from its National Committee members at the closing meeting of its annual session.

President Xi Jinping (習近平) then rose from his seat to walk towards Leung to shake his hand and to speak with him briefly.

At a press briefing later, Leung said, “The president encouraged me to contribute more to Hong Kong and the country”. Leung is the first person in Hong Kong to be a state leader at the level of CPPCC vice-chairman while still serving as Hong Kong’s chief executive. Leung told the press he was honoured to have the opportunity to continue serving this city and the country. He promised to help Hong Kong, especially its young people, to seize opportunities provided by the nation’s fast pace of development.

How will Leung as CPPCC vice-chairman be contributing more to Hong Kong’s future development? As chief executive, he has promoted Hong Kong as a “super-connector” and a bridge between China and the global community.

With his extensive knowledge and connections with the mainland, in his new CPPCC role and later as ex-chief executive, he will be able to contribute in whatever role is agreed with the Hong Kong SAR government under the leadership of Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, and/or the central government.

After he leaves office on June 30, the central government may appoint him to a post in line with his experience and capability, such as on the “One Belt, One Road” programme in which Hong Kong as a financial centre and services hub is expected to play an important role.

During his annual work report at the start of the National People’s Congress, Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) announced Beijing will press ahead with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, based on a study called “The Action Plan for the Bay Area of the Pearl River Estuary” – compiled by authorities in Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Zhuhai and Zhongshan in 2011.

As the plan is still in the conceptual stage, Leung, in his new position as CPPCC vice-chairman, with state leader status, could perform a useful role as a facilitator to enhance early implementation of this important cluster project, for the benefit of all the parties concerned.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan