Hong Kong to reap more dividends through closer development with China, says Beijing’s top man in city

Wang Zhimin, head of the central government liaison office, said Hong Kong had become such a successful trading, shipping and financial centre through two key national policies

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2018, 8:08pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2018, 9:50pm

Hong Kong has reaped “great dividends” from two key Chinese policies – and more opportunities are on the way with the city’s integration into national development, Beijing’s top man in the city said on Wednesday.

Wang Zhimin, head of the central government liaison office, said Hong Kong had become such a successful trading, shipping and financial centre in the 1990s by riding on China’s “economic reform and opening” and through the “one country, two systems” policy.

Speaking in Beijing, Wang, citing the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and the high-speed rail link to the mainland, said the city would now have the facilities to work even more closely with the country.

“So I really think Hong Kong is a blessed land and Hong Kong compatriots are very lucky. These two major national policies created great dividends for Hong Kong through macroeconomic policies and systems,” Wang told a pro-Beijing news outlet.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, after returning from Beijing from the opening of the annual “two sessions” political meetings, said on Wednesday the government would expedite integration work, and that Premier Li Keqiang had boosted her confidence for doing the job.

In his work report delivered on Monday, Li declared that the authority of the country’s constitution and Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, had been further realised in the city.

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He also promised to “support Hong Kong and Macau in integrating their own development into overall national development”, saying the central government would unveil and implement the plan for the Greater Bay Area – a national integration scheme between Hong Kong, Macau and nine neighbouring mainland cities.

Lam said she was excited about the plan, which was worked out with the local and other governments in Guangdong province.

On Li’s omission of two references – “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong” and the city’s “high degree of autonomy” – in his work report, Lam called on the public not to be so sensitive.

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“President [Xi Jinping] spoke very clearly about the full implementation of ‘one country, two systems’ during his July 1 visit,” Lam said, adding that the principle had been placed in a very important position at the 19th Communist Party congress last October.

Meanwhile, former chief executive Leung Chun-ying, vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top advisory body, shared his thoughts on China’s political system in a Facebook post.

“There was no debate, no bureaucratic rhetoric, no one putting on any show or filibuster,” Leung wrote on Tuesday of the ongoing meetings in Beijing.

Leung, who had in the past criticised pro-democracy lawmakers for filibustering in the Legislative Council, added that attendees were peaceful and trying to find pragmatic solutions to difficulties.

“This is the advantage of the consultation system in China’s political system. We do not export China’s political system, nor do we import foreign political systems.”