'Release positive energy', CY Leung tells Hongkongers as he heads to Beijing

Chief executive appeals to Hongkongers to refrain from actions that harm city's image

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2014, 12:43pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has called on Hongkongers to "release more positive energy" and refrain from actions that could harm the city's economy or international image.

Leung told people to appreciate Hong Kong's economic achievements and highlighted its low unemployment rate, sound finances and stable prices.

He made the remarks yesterday morning before departing for Beijing on a four-day visit, during which he will attend today's opening ceremony of the second session of the 12th National People's Congress.

"We should release more positive energy," Leung said. "And at the same time, we should not do things that could affect Hong Kong's economic developments or the territory's international image."

He did not elaborate on his comments.

Concerns about Hong Kong's international reputation rose recently after a spate of protests by radical groups against mainland visitors whom they blamed for having overwhelmed the city and its resources.

There are also growing concerns that the pro-democracy Occupy Central campaign could degenerate into riots and damage the economy.

The campaign seeks to mobilise supporters to block the streets of Central unless the government comes up with what they consider a true democratic system for the chief executive election in 2017.

Leung did not say if he would ask the central government to limit the number of mainland visitors, but said his government attached much importance to the city's capacity to cater for tourists and would take any negative impact into account as it developed the industry.

In Beijing, the spokeswoman for the second session of the 12th National People's Congress, Fu Ying , said the mainland and Hong Kong were like family.

"Our relations are very close," Fu said. "I think that if there is any discord or friction between the mainland and Hong Kong, it can always be resolved through discussion."

Ronald Leung Kam-shing, an organiser of the anti-mainlanders protest in Tsim Sha Tsui last month, said the protesters did not want to see Hong Kong's international image affected either.

"Our chief executive seems to have missed the point," he said. "We would like our officials to take our views seriously. There are just too many mainland visitors on the streets and our daily life is also affected by that."

He reiterated his call for the government to cap the number of mainland visitors to the city.