Commendations for the chief executive by Chinese state leaders are nothing new. As usual, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was showered with praise when she met Vice-Premier Han Zheng in the capital on Friday . This time, the highly orchestrated show of blessings for the embattled Hong Kong leader has added meaning, though. Coming amid signs of nascent recovery following a series of devastating political, economic and public health crises, there is both support for Lam and pressure on her to do better. From fighting the Covid-19 epidemic and reviving the economy to implementing the national security law and restoring order and stability, the “full recognition” of Lam’s achievements is to be expected. The fruitful discussions between Lam and various authorities during her Beijing trip show how the central government is fully supportive of initiatives which are beneficial to the city’s long-term prosperity and stability, according to Han. There is, however, more to Han’s remarks than just endorsement. Unlike previously when there was usually a raft of favourable policies for the chief executive to bring back home, the state leader overseeing Hong Kong affairs stopped short of offering concrete measures. Instead, he stressed the importance of proactively grasping the opportunities arising from the development of the Greater Bay Area and that of the country as a whole. This is the clearest indication yet the city has yet to rise to the challenge. Also noticeable was the lack of an immediate deal to resume cross-border travel, seen by many as topping the government agenda. With daily Covid-19 infections still fluctuating – there were six new cases on Friday – mainland authorities are understandably wary of fully reopening the border for the time being. Until the other side is fully satisfied that we have the virus in check, the issue will continue to put the Lam administration to the test. Last month, Lam delayed her annual policy address, saying she needed to flesh out more concrete policies with mainland authorities to help economic recovery. The “good news” arising from Friday’s talks has inevitably raised public expectations further. Lam said there were proactive responses to strengthen the city’s roles as an international financial, aviation and innovation hub, but she stopped short of disclosing further details. The show of support for Lam’s leadership is essential to stability and recovery. But it obviously takes more than Beijing’s blessing to bail Hong Kong out of the current crisis. With less than three weeks to go before the policy address is tabled again, Lam must produce a comprehensive recovery blueprint to forge the city’s strengths with national development.