Xi Jinping

Former Hong Kong leader asks city to look at bigger picture for China’s development

Tung Chee-hwa says Hongkongers should look to President Xi Jinping’s plan and grasp opportunities on offer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 10:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 11:32pm

Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa has urged the city to take better advantage of the economic development of the mainland, warning that Hong Kong cannot afford to be left behind, stuck in “endless internal rifts”.

He advised Hongkongers to study President Xi Jinping’s report from last month’s Communist Party Congress and grasp the opportunities on offer, or risk losing the city’s advantages.

Tung, now an elder statesman and vice-chairman of the nation’s top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was giving a speech on Wednesday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai to mark the third anniversary of Our Hong Kong Foundation, the think tank he set up in 2014.

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He devoted about half of his 25-minute speech to hailing China’s rise over the past five years with Xi in charge, citing his progress in fighting poverty and corruption.

“China is getting more open and more prosperous. If we can grab the opportunities, we will see development,” Tung said.

“It is not going to be easy, but it is better than standing still. Hong Kong needs repositioning and to coordinate with the national development in order to map out its development direction.”

Noting that the city had not paid enough attention to the country’s five-year development plans in the past, he also urged Hongkongers to understand major projects such as the “Belt and Road Initiative” to open up international trade and the Greater Bay Area scheme covering nine cities in Guangdong province as well as Hong Kong and Macau.

“Hong Kong should spend more time to study and understand the report by Xi at 19th party congress and the Chinese Communist Party,” Tung said. “So that we know how to integrate with the nation’s development.”

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He said the party had a historical record of achieving its targets and he was confident that Xi’s development goals would be achieved.

Tung also highlighted land and housing, education and youth problems among the major issues requiring urgent government attention.

“If these problems remain unaddressed, they will give rise to rifts. And Hong Kong will be trapped in endless internal rifts,” he said. “Hong Kong will lose its advantages. That result cannot be permitted.”