Bauhinia think tank's chief denies fading role in Leung's government
Bauhinia Foundation's chief unconcerned about any fading role under the new government, and vows to keep pushing for cutting-edge policies
A think tank seen as a leading adviser to the previous government will not be winding down its efforts despite an apparently declining role under the new administration of Leung Chun-ying, its new chairman says.
Donald Li Kwok-tung, new head of the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, said the chief executive should keep an open mind towards policy suggestions from different institutes.
"The whole point is not about … competing to be the No1 think tank, the most important thing is that what you do is useful," Li said. He remains optimistic about the centre's role in a changing political atmosphere.
Li took over when Anthony Wu Ting-yuk ended a five-year tenure on September 17. Wu is a key supporter of Leung's predecessor and election rival Henry Tang Ying-yen.
Wu's departure, together with the centre's decision to end its quarterly Hong Kong Consumer Confidence Survey, was seen by political observers as signs of the body's fading prominence.
The pro-Beijing One Country Two Systems Research Institute, of which Leung is a former chairman, has been widely tipped to become the key think tank under the current administration.
But Li, a family doctor from one of Hong Kong's most prominent families, said the foundation had no intention of lowering its profile and would step up its studies to help keep the city competitive.
"I wish to bolster the quality of our policy research and get more focused," Li said. "We are concerned about competitiveness … Hong Kong still has advantages because our people are hard-working and willing to develop, but the problem is that we need to be more forward-looking, plan well and look out for areas of potential risk."
Li, whose relatives include former High Court judge Simon Li Fook-sean, former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang, Bank of East Asia boss David Li Kwok-po and executive councillor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, said Hong Kong could lose its edge if it failed to plan ahead on population policy and on integration with Pearl River Delta cities.
Last Friday, the six-year-old centre released its submissions for the upcoming policy address and budget through its website and a press release, without a press conference. Li said it had done the same two years ago.
"We are a bit more mature now," he said. "In the beginning, we wanted people to know [us]. So we wanted more exposure at that time."
Asked if he believed Leung would keep an open mind, Li said: "I am confident about him … After all, he went to our centre a few months ago after he took office. It proved that he accepts all [think tanks] … I haven't felt anything negative about [him]."