Carrie Lam highlights central government support in annual policy address

Chief Executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam on Wednesday highlighted the role of the central government for the financial hub’s economic recovery in her annual policy address, after a delay of more than a month.

The central government has given its support to expansion of eligible securities under mutual market access programs, she pointed out.

In addition, to consolidate Hong Kong’s position in the global aviation sector, approval has also been granted to Hong Kong International Airport to invest in Zhuhai Airport following market-based principle. “We will further deepen cooperation so as to construct an airport cluster with global competitiveness,” Lam said in the speech.

The fourth address since Lam took office in 2017, the speech has drawn widespread attention as Hong Kong has been hit by unprecedented blows from the widespread social unrest last year to the still soaring COVID-19 pandemic. Official statistics show that the city’s economy has contracted for five consecutive quarters, the worst since its return to China.

“[The Hong Kong government is here to] look at ways to get Hong Kong out of the impasse and to restore confidence,” Lam said.

Earlier this month, Lam paid a visit to the country’s capital Beijing and southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, where she met several mainland officials from various sectors to find solutions to cope with the recession.

At Wednesday’s address, Lam cited favorable policies for Hong Kong to further integrate into the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, consolidate Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center, and boost the development of innovation and technology.

Priority is to restore Hong Kong’s constitutional order: Lam

As 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the HKSAR Basic Law, Lam said that to ensure the “One Country, Two Systems” principle is fully and accurately implemented, Hong Kong must adhere to the Constitution and the Basic Law.

The “One Country, Two Systems” framework “allows Hong Kong to be special and different – keeping its capitalist system while still being part of China.”

“In the past year or so, Hong Kong has experienced the most severe political challenges since its return to the motherland. One of our urgent priorities is to restore HKSAR’s constitutional order and political system from chaos,” Lam said.

It is the constitutional responsibility of the HKSAR to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, she added.

Stressing the rule of law as a core value and the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s success, Lam criticized violent acts and “justice lawbreaking” advocated by some people during the social unrest over the past year, which severely damaged social order and the rule of law and posed threats to people’s lives and properties.

Lam vowed stringent law enforcement actions to turn around this situation and noted that no one has special privileges under the law.

(With input from Xinhua)