Reflect on the past and build a brighter future
2 December 2018
The past four decades have seen the reform and opening up of our country. At the beginning, a large number of Hong Kong businessmen were among the first to invest and set up factories on the Mainland, bringing capital, technology and experience along. At the mid-stage, Hong Kong helped overseas enterprises enter the mega Mainland market and facilitated the entry of foreign investment. At the later stage, Hong Kong has become an important platform for Mainland companies to expand their overseas business, enabling them to go global and access the world market. Reflecting on the ongoing process of the reform and opening up of our country, Hong Kong has been not only a contributor and a facilitator, but also a beneficiary.
Hong Kong has been jointly developing and sharing prosperity with our country. Thanks to the reform and opening up of the country in the past four decades, Hong Kong has successfully transformed itself from a manufacturing centre into a service hub, and then into an international financial, logistics and trading hub today.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up of the country, the Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government has set up a steering committee, which is chaired by myself, to co-ordinate celebration events organised by government bureaux and in various districts, including a thematic seminar and a thematic exhibition. The thematic seminar, with the theme of Hong Kong jointly developing with the country and sharing the prosperity in the country’s reform and opening up in the past four decades, will be held on 10 December. Several renowned Mainland and local speakers have been invited to review and celebrate the remarkable achievements made by the country in the past four decades and the contribution of Hong Kong during the process, and to explore in depth the new role of Hong Kong in the further reform and opening up of the country.
The Information Services Department will host the “Joint Development‧Shared Prosperity” Exhibition at the main lobby of the Hong Kong Museum of History from 12 December 2018 to 28 January 2019. Through the exhibition, members of the public will be able to learn more about the irreplaceable role Hong Kong that played in the course of the country’s reform and opening up, taking pride in both Hong Kong’s contribution and the country’s extraordinary achievements. The exhibition will feature interactive displays and multimedia applications with a contemporary vibe to provide a relaxing and pleasant experience for visitors.
Hong Kong has all along been leveraging our strengths to meet our country’s needs and contribute to our country’s development. Last month, President XI Jinping received in person a Hong Kong and Macao delegation to Beijing, comprising members from various sectors, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up of the country. He fully recognised the contribution of various sectors in the community in the past four decades and commended Hong Kong for its irreplaceable role. These words were indeed a great encouragement to the people of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong people are characterised by our continuous strive for improvement. While reflecting on the past, we also look ahead to the future. The President laid out for Hong Kong and Macao four hopes, i.e. to contribute to the country’s comprehensive opening up, to integrate into the country’s overall development, to participate in the practice of national governance and to promote international cultural exchanges. These hopes are highly inspirational and can serve as good guidance for us. In particular, he also expressed his hope that the Governments of Hong Kong and Macao would create more opportunities for development for young people.
The Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area Development put forth by the country in recent years have provided Hong Kong with some brand new and invaluable development opportunities. I believe that with Hong Kong’s unique advantages under “One Country, Two Systems”, all we need to do is to ride on the wave of change, carve out a new positioning, take up our new roles and give full play to our new functions. We will then be able to make even greater contribution.
To this end, the SAR Government is actively taking forward the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Bay Area). In August this year, the Chief Executive attended the first plenary meeting of the leading group for the development of the Bay Area as a member in Beijing. As a top-tier body aimed at advancing the development of the Bay Area and strengthening the co-ordination efforts, the leading group will have very positive implications for the future development of the Bay Area.
The SAR Government has set out three priority areas of work to promote the development of the Bay Area at the present stage. First, we will facilitate the development of the Bay Area into an international innovation and technology hub. Over the past year, we have achieved some progress in this area, including signing an arrangement for innovation and technology co-operation with the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China in September this year, and a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) last month on the establishment of an affiliated institution by the CAS at the Hong Kong Science Park. The affiliated institution, which will also serve as the Secretariat of the Greater Bay Area Academician Alliance to be set up in Hong Kong, will facilitate the exchanges and co-operation between academicians in the Bay Area, thereby contributing to the technological advancement of the country.
Second, we will facilitate the development of industries in which Hong Kong enjoy advantages, especially the healthcare and education services, in establishing foothold in the Bay Area. By doing so, residents of Guangdong Province will be able to enjoy services of a higher quality while industries in which Hong Kong’s strengths lie will be able to expand their scopes of development. The two sides can then complement each other to achieve mutual benefits.
Third, we will enhance the interconnectivity of the Bay Area cities through policy innovation and breakthrough. Since last year, a host of measures, which cover education, employment, and matters relating to business start-up and day-to-day lives, have been rolled out to facilitate Hong Kong people’s development and their daily lives in the Mainland. Starting from this September, Hong Kong people living on the Mainland on a long-term basis may apply for residence permits. The commissioning of the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, coupled with the new land boundary control point at Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai, construction works of which are expected to complete soon, has basically brought about a one-hour living circle encompassing Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.
To take forward the development of the Bay Area successfully, the SAR Government stands ready to perform its role as a “facilitator” in seeking policy support from the relevant Mainland authorities in order to help Hong Kong people seize the opportunities arising from our country’s development.