Eddy Li

Says Pres­i­dent Xi’s speech should be seen as an im­por­tant wakeup call for peo­ple in HK to make the most of fu­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered by the na­tion’s devel­op­ment plans

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping re­cently vis­ited Hong Kong to cel­e­brate the 20th an­niver­sary of Hong Kong’s re­turn from Bri­tain back to China as well as to in­au­gu­rate the fifthterm SAR gov­ern­ment. Dur­ing his three-day visit, he de­liv­ered sev­eral speeches for dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions. All of these were im­por­tant as they re­flected the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s at­ti­tude to­ward fu­ture im­ple­men­ta­tion of the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” pol­icy.

In in­ter­pret­ing this prin­ci­ple, the pres­i­dent called for a cor­rect un­der­stand­ing of the re­la­tion­ship between “one coun­try” and “two sys­tems”: Sab­o­tag­ing the pre­req­ui­site of “one coun­try” is clearly an act that crosses a“red line”. We should al­ways re­mem­ber that“two sys­tems” should stay in har­mony with each other; and the na­tional Constitution and the Ba­sic Law of Hong Kong SAR have clearly de­fined this“red line”. Xi also urged the SAR to fo­cus on devel­op­ment as the top pri­or­ity and strive to main­tain a sta­ble and har­mo­nious so­ci­ety.

I can­not agree more with these sen­ti­ments. But among all the im­por­tant points made in Xi’s speeches, the most im­pres­sive for me was when he cited a Hong Kong proverb. This could be lit­er­ally trans­lated as:“There will be no more boats to take af­ter leav­ing Suzhou”. The proverb sug­gests that an op­por­tu­nity rarely comes twice — so we must not let it slip away. This should re­mind all Hong Kong peo­ple of the im­por­tance of seiz­ing ev­ery op­por­tu­nity we can to de­velop our city. We sim­ply can­not af­ford to miss out on any op­por­tu­ni­ties. The proverb is very fa­mil­iar to all Hong Kong peo­ple; I be­lieve we can all eas­ily un­der­stand what the cen­tral gov­ern­ment ex­pects of us.

The world to­day, as we all know, is fac­ing con­sid­er­able up­heaval. In the United States, the un­usual gov­ern­ing style of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has in­creased the level of un­cer­tainty for the world’s big­gest econ­omy. The United King­dom is still suf­fer­ing from the af­ter­math of the Brexit de­ci­sion made in June last year. The Euro­pean debt cri­sis has caused eco­nomic prob­lems for so many EU coun­tries for such a long time. Even bet­ter per­form­ing coun­tries like Ger­many and France now have to deal with the fall­out from the refugee cri­sis. It is in­ter­est­ing to note, too, that most of these refugees come from coun­tries dev­as­tated by wars af­ter so-called color rev­o­lu­tions.

The sit­u­a­tion is en­tirely dif­fer­ent for Hong Kong. Hav­ing the na­tion as our big­gest sup­porter means that Hong Kong en­joys the priv­i­leges com­ing from “one coun­try” as well as the free­doms and ad­van­tages brought about by “two sys­tems”. The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and the Guang­dongHong Kong-Ma­cao Greater Bay Area devel­op­ment plan pro­vide us with even more op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Belt and Road is a long-term eco­nomic strat­egy of our na­tion, of which the pro­posed Greater Bay Area project is a sig­nif­i­cant part. Just be­fore Xi ended his Hong Kong trip, he wit­nessed the sign- The au­thor is the pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Man­u­fac­tur­ers’As­so­ci­a­tion of Hong Kong.

For Hong Kong, both the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and the Greater Bay Area are golden op­por­tu­ni­ties which are not to be missed. If our so­cial en­vi­ron­ment con­tin­ues to be dis­rupted by cyn­i­cal and self-serv­ing politi­cians, we will all re­gret it in the fu­ture. And re­mem­ber, re­gret won’t bring back these lost op­por­tu­ni­ties.

ing of the Frame­work Agree­ment on Deep­en­ing Guang­dong-Hong Kong-Ma­cao Co­op­er­a­tion in the Devel­op­ment of the Bay Area. This was co-signed by the Chair­man of the Na­tional Devel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion (NDRC) He Lifeng, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the Gov­er­nor of Guang­dong prov­ince Ma Xin­grui, and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the Ma­cao SAR Chui Sai-on. This un­doubt­edly re­flected the im­por­tance of the Greater Bay Area project to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

That Hong Kong is able to par­tic­i­pate in the plan­ning of the Greater Bay Area has more pro­found im­pli­ca­tions. In the past, Hong Kong used to be a mere re­ceiver of priv­i­leged poli­cies rather than an ac­tive plan­ner. Things are dif­fer­ent this time — the project will be jointly planned and pre­pared by Hong Kong, Ma­cao and the nine ci­ties in the Pearl River Delta area — Hong Kong has a say in mak­ing the rules of the “game”. This sug­gests Hong Kong will be able to take part in the plan­ning process of a na­tional-level project. The rules of the “game”will def­i­nitely take good care of Hong Kong’s in­ter­ests be­cause they are partly writ­ten by us.

For Hong Kong, both the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and the Greater Bay Area are golden op­por­tu­ni­ties which are not to be missed. If our so­cial en­vi­ron­ment con­tin­ues to be dis­rupted by cyn­i­cal and self-serv­ing politi­cians, we will all re­gret it in the fu­ture. And re­mem­ber, re­gret won’t bring back these lost op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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