Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu gives a speech to mark the 26th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic Of China, at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on July 1, 2023. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on Saturday he had full confidence in the city, but there was a need to stay alert against "soft resistance", as he pledged a result-oriented approach based on President Xi Jinping's "four musts" and "four proposals" to unite the community and build a better Hong Kong.
"Over the past year, the HKSAR government led Hong Kong out of the darkness of the epidemic ... We are now driving down the fast lane of recovery at full speed," he said while speaking at a reception held in celebration of the 26th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
He pointed out how a growth rate of 2.7 percent was recorded in the first quarter of this year, reversing the declining trend in the past four consecutive quarters.
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“We expect a positive economic growth of around 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent this year.”
We’re now driving down the fast lane of recovery at full speed.
John Lee Ka-chiu, Chief Executive, HKSAR
Speaking on the occasion that also marked the first anniversary of the current-term government, he cited national strategies such as the National 14th Five-Year Plan, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development and the Belt and Road Initiative that brought "enormous opportunities" to Hong Kong.
The SAR is driving down the fast lane of recovery at full speed, and the government will continue to tell the good stories about Hong Kong to the world to create more opportunities for the city, the chief executive said reviewing the “impressive results” his administration has achieved in its first year in office.
These results have been made in various areas, including the local economy, attracting talent and upgrading people’s livelihood. The SAR is rapidly returning to normalcy and making significant progress, he added.
"In the coming year, my team and I will continue to actively visit the mainland and overseas, leading strong delegations representing different sectors to tell the world the good stories of Hong Kong and create more opportunities for our city," he said.
Dignitaries join Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (front row, center) to celebrate the 26th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on July 1, 2023. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
Recalling President Xi’s speech during his inspection visit to the SAR in July last year, in which the president made it clear that “one country, two systems” has been tested repeatedly in practice, Lee said: “There’s no reason for us to change such a good policy, and we must adhere to it in the long run.”
The government’s policy to attract professionals from overseas, unveiled in his maiden Policy Address in October last year, has brought impressive results, he said. In just five months, 50,000 applications from professionals in various sectors had been given the green light, and the number is likely to exceed the original annual target of 35,000, he added.
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The Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises has also met representatives of about 150 companies, some of which have established a foothold in the SAR. Invest Hong Kong has further helped 180 enterprises to set up or expand their operations in the city in the first five months of this year – up by more than 30 percent from the same period last year.
We expect a positive economic growth of around 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent this year.
John Lee Ka-chiu
As for people’s livelihood, the SAR government has made significant efforts to speed up and increase the supply of housing. As a result, the time for public housing allocation has been reduced from 6.5 years to 5.3 years. Moreover, the Light Public Housing policy announced in Lee’s Policy Address, has further shortened the home allocation period to 4.5 years.
The government has also published blueprints for the development of youth, science and innovation, and primary care, and proposed relief measures in various areas like land, education, care, integration, environmental protection, culture and sports, said Lee.
Pointing out that July 1 this year also marks the start of the “Northbound Travel for Hong Kong Vehicles” scheme, he said the program allows eligible private Hong Kong cars to travel between the HKSAR and Guangdong province via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
Lee believes this will allow Hong Kong people to visit friends and relatives, or do business on the mainland easily, bringing people of both places closer.
Looking to the future, the CE said Hong Kong will continue to integrate into the country’s overall development and participate in the construction of the Greater Bay Area.
Hong Kong will utilize its unique strengths to help build a modern and powerful China and contribute to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, he said.
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