Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s longest-ever policy address acknowledges Covid-19 and the national security law

  • Lam addressed climate change, saying the city hopes to be carbon neutral by 2050
  • She discussed a plan to push for youth employment in Shenzhen and the Greater Bay Area 
Susan Ramsay |

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Chief Executive Carrie Lam addressed the coronavirus and national security among other things. Photo: SCMP / Felix Wong

In her longest policy address yet, delayed from October 14, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor acknowledged that fighting climate change is an important global issue.

Hong Kong hopes to become carbon neutral 10 years earlier than the mainland’s 2060 date, she said.

In the first policy address when Hong Kong does not have a viable opposition, Lam said Hong Kong is a “gaping hole” in China’s national security. The new national security law, which was imposed on June 30, had brought peace and stability to the city, she added.

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Lam said people who had incited lawbreaking over the past year could expect no favours from the judicial system. However, police could consider measures to help under-18 offenders, such as by giving them a caution rather than punishing them. This could only happen, she said, if those people were not involved in serious offences and admitted to their transgressions. They would also have to show that they were genuinely sorry for what they had done.

On the employment front, Lam encouraged young people to pursue a career in innovation and technology. She also announced a plan to create hundreds of jobs with large IT firms in Shenzhen through the Greater Bay Area (GBA) Youth Employment Scheme. Under the plan, companies operating in both Hong Kong and the GBA would be encouraged to hire graduates from Hong Kong universities to work within the GBA. The scheme will provide 2,000 places.

Fresh funding of HK$1 billion will also be injected into the city’s creative industries.

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Regarding the pandemic, Lam said Beijing has asked Hong Kong to “take all necessary measures” to guard against imported cases and any surge in domestic infections.

Beijing would reserve a number of vaccines that had been developed or produced on the mainland for use in Hong Kong if necessary.

Lam added that Hong Kong could now test up to 100,000 people a day, and that the cost of testing had dropped significantly.

The address, Lam’s fourth, took an hour and 20 minutes to read, and contained more than 30,000 words.