The annual duty visit of the chief executive is always a closely followed event in the political calendar, even more so when the city is embarking on a new chapter following an eventful year. As widely expected, the work of Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was fully acknowledged by state leaders, but she was also urged to redouble efforts in improving people’s livelihoods and to give them “a greater sense of gain”. The message resonates with Hongkongers. Even though the government has made much groundwork for better development, many people have yet to benefit directly. But with Beijing’s resolute support for closer integration and firm commitment to “one country, two systems” , there is hope for greater achievement. Xi Jinping praises Hong Kong leader’s work including on Legco poll, Covid-19 Compared with the previous duty visit, which was carried out online because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Lam was more upbeat this time. This probably stems from the significant progress she has made on two pressing issues at the time – curbing the fourth wave of community outbreak and fostering a political order under the newly imposed national security law . Thanks to the absence of local Covid-19 infections for months, the pace of economic recovery is accelerating. The sweeping electoral revamp to keep Legislative Council seats in the hands of pre-vetted “patriots” also concluded without a hitch on Sunday, with all but one seat clinched by pro-establishment camps. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang are well aware of the local situation. Noting a series of achievements in fighting the pandemic and on the political front over the year, Xi said the electoral revamp had enhanced one country, two systems. He stressed the governance model would be implemented unswervingly, saying it was in the best interest of the state, Hong Kong and the people. In a separate session, the premier said Beijing fully supported Hong Kong’s attempts to consolidate its strengths as a global financial, trading and shipping hub, and the city must “proactively connect” with the nation’s overarching development strategies. It must also make efforts in improving people’s livelihoods, so that the vast majority of residents had a greater sense of gain, he added. The remarks show Beijing has its finger on the pulse of the community. Regardless of whether Lam will run for a second term, there is still much work to do in her remaining tenure and beyond. Economically, the pace of recovery still hinges on the resumption of quarantine-free cross-border travel. Politically, the government is expected to further reinforce the new political order. No less pressing is an array of deep-seated issues affecting housing, youth development and livelihoods. As the conditions continue to improve, it is incumbent upon Lam and her team to seize the momentum to achieve more.