Hong Kong

Why a ‘mini Hong Kong’ in mainland China would be a better investment than an artificial island

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2018, 6:16am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2018, 6:15am

The United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change recently released its shocking report on the increasing inevitability of climate change. The suffering will be unprecedented (“Landmark UN climate report flags life-or-death warning”, October 8).

I have just returned from the Tri Hita Karana Forum on Sustainable Development where the president of Indonesia spoke on happiness and where 30 new projects were launched, all in line with UN sustainable development goals, many alleviating suffering and poverty.

The Hong Kong government, in the meantime, has announced plans to spend half its reserves on the world’s most expensive but unnecessary ecological disaster (“In tomorrow’s world, Hong Kong’s leader sees a massive HK$500 billion artificial island in middle of the sea”, October 10).

I would like to suggest some alternative use of funds.

First, Hong Kong has just ceded control of certain land in the territory and allowed mainland Chinese law to apply there. Instead of filling in the sea near a very crowded Hong Kong, why not seek land in a poorer region of China and cut a deal that Hong Kong laws apply to that new region?

Build a mini Hong Kong with strong connectivity and transport links to Hong Kong. Provide subsidies to people to move. Since Hong Kong has vast financial reserves that it could invest, build universities, schools, hospitals and parks and replicate the green environment we have in Hong Kong as part of the programme. The amount being thrown into the sea will go a long way in poorer parts of China.

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Second, seek land in China where alternative energy can be produced for Hong Kong. Shut down the terrible coal-fired plants.

Third, start building a fund and related capacity to help the poorer people in the region that will be most affected by global warming and indeed by natural disasters. We have been very fortunate in Hong Kong. Others have not. The scale of what is needed is vast.

Fourth, invest heavily in and sponsor technology to make Hong Kong a completely sustainable city. Hong Kong as a wealthy city should be a pioneer.

If the government insists on continuing its terrible artificial island plan, I trust that officials will read the UN panel report and ensure the island is only under water financially.

Chris Botsford, CEO, ADM Capital