Hong Kong chief executive to lead ‘Greater Bay Area’ integration study tour
Leung will act for first time in his new joint role of chief executive and CPPCC vice-chairman while promoting national development plan
Outgoing Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying will lead a major delegation, including six ministers, to six mainland cities as part of the “Greater Bay Area” plan, an integration scheme announced by Premier Li Keqiang in his annual work report last month.
Leung, whose term ends on June 30, was elevated to a vice-chairman’s post in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference last month.
It would be his first time leading a delegation to the mainland under his unprecedented dual role.
The delegation will comprise non-official members of the Executive Council, Commission on Strategic Development and the Economic Development Commission. However, the only two pan-democrats on the commissions, Democratic Party veteran Dr Law Chi-kwong and lawmaker Joseph Lee Kok-long, said they would not join due to other engagements.
Officials joining Leung will include Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po.
The delegation will tour six cities under the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area: Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing, Jiangmen, Zhongshan and Zhuhai from April 19 to 21 to learn more about their latest developments in infrastructure, town planning, and innovation and technology, as well as to meet the cities’ leaders.
Professor Lau Siu-kai, a vice-chairman of the semi-official Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said the visit served the purpose of displaying Leung’s support and motivation for the national plan by promoting it to the public in Hong Kong.
Lau said the plan was initiated by the top levels of the central government and Hong Kong was expected to take the leading role in the strategic regional development scheme.
“The advantages of the cities in the Bay Area can complement each other ... like Hong Kong has the edge on financial services while manufacturing and industrial works can take place in mainland cities,” he said.
“The plan is crucial to boost regional economic development and Hong Kong teenagers could benefit from the rising job opportunities.”
At a forum on Friday, Chan Wing-kee, a member of China’s top political advisory body, urged Hong Kong to grasp the opportunities under the plan for greater integration with the mainland. “Our development was halted and it is time for change,” he said.
The Greater Bay Area plan first surfaced in a State Council policy paper in March last year. It was mentioned in the premier’s annual report at the start of the National People’s Congress for the first time last month.