New landscape for good governance
Safe and stable society beneficial to people’s livelihood
Actively encourage vaccination
30 May 2021
The Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 (the Bill), which was passed by the Legislative Council (LegCo) last Thursday (May 27), will come into effect upon gazettal tomorrow (May 31). This critical and historic piece of legislation signifies the full completion of the local legislative work for improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as well as the successful implementation of the amended Annexes I and II to the Basic Law as approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
In the coming ten months, the HKSAR Government will go all out to conduct the voter registration exercise and three major elections (namely the Election Committee Subsector Ordinary Elections on September 19, the LegCo General Election on December 19, and the Chief Executive Election on March 27 next year) with a view to ensuring that the elections are smoothly conducted in a fair, just and open manner.
New landscape for good governance through patriots administering Hong Kong
As an integral part of Hong Kong’s political structure, our electoral system has far-reaching implications for the implementation of “One Country, Two Systems”, the best institutional arrangement for ensuring the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong since our return to the motherland. The Central Government’s efforts in taking the lead to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system at the constitutional level has created a new landscape for good governance and opened a new chapter of long-term stability and safety by further improving the national security framework for the HKSAR to safeguard national security and political security. An important milestone in Hong Kong’s constitutional development, the passage of the Bill puts the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” into practice, ensuring that the power of governing the HKSAR lies firmly in the hands of patriots and providing a strong safeguard for the steadfast and successful implementation of “One Country, Two Systems”.
Legislature returns to rationality in the interests of the people
With our electoral system improved, Hong Kong will hopefully break free from the clutches of political wrangling and incessant internal conflicts over recent years. Under the new electoral system, anti-China disruptors and external hostile forces can no longer find loopholes to enter the HKSAR’s governance structure, nor can they obstruct and interfere with the law-based administration of the HKSAR Government.
Improving the electoral system also helps the LegCo restore its constitutional functions. The chaotic and irrational conflicts within the LegCo have finally come to an end and Hong Kong stands ready to rebuild a constructive and pragmatic legislature, just as the general public has hoped for. Under the new electoral system, the efficiency of Council meetings will be greatly enhanced as members resume rational and pragmatic discussions. Hong Kong is a pluralistic, open and inclusive society that embraces a wide political spectrum. Premised on the basis of love for our country and our city, I believe that anyone aspiring to serve Hong Kong in good faith, regardless of political orientation, can enjoy the legal right to political participation and serve the society with practical deeds in the interests of the people, thereby building a better Hong Kong and contributing to our country.
Effective administration that lives up to entrusted mandate
I am deeply grateful to the Central Government for resolving difficulties of the HKSAR once again by improving our electoral system at the constitutional level. My gratitude also goes to all 40 pro-establishment LegCo members for their rigorous and tireless efforts in scrutinising the Bill, making constructive suggestions and offering staunch support, as well as to the LegCo President, the LegCo Secretariat and colleagues of relevant government departments for their excellent collaboration and hard work. Moreover, the completion of the arduous task of legislative drafting in a short couple of months by our industrious colleagues in the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau and the Department of Justice was truly an unprecedented accomplishment which also demonstrated the remarkable efficiency and professionalism of the civil service. Their strenuous efforts are sincerely appreciated.
The new electoral system will bring about a stronger political structure conducive to rational and positive interactions between the executive and the legislature. With their collective wisdom and insights, the administration of the HKSAR will become more effective with enhanced governance capability and quality. Going forward, the HKSAR Government will strive to achieve efficacy in policy implementation and focus on fostering economic development and improving people’s livelihood. Thanks to the electoral improvements, we are now in a better position to genuinely resolve the various deep-seated problems confronting our society. We will work sedulously in a practical and pragmatic manner to live up to the mandate entrusted by our country and the expectations of the people of Hong Kong.
Rebuilding law-abiding awareness for a safe and stable society
The implementation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR (National Security Law) has achieved immediate results. With a significant drop in violence offences and apparent receding of “Hong Kong independence” advocacy, our society has resumed normality and people are now free from the anxiety about violence and safety. The HKSAR Government will continue to enforce the National Security Law fearlessly and unswervingly to prevent and curb any acts endangering national security and bring offenders to justice. As Hong Kong’s new landscape of safety and stability is not easy to come by, it is imperative that we join forces to rebuild the law-abiding awareness of our society.
With the restoration of public safety and social stability and the new landscape of “patriots administering Hong Kong” taking shape, the HKSAR Government will make good use of the opportunities presented by the National Security Law and the improved electoral system to focus on propelling the sustainable development of Hong Kong. As a matter of fact, the enactment of the National Security Law and the electoral overhaul are synergistic dual engines that function as double safeguards for the continuous advancement of Hong Kong.
Actively encouraging vaccination
The most pressing task for the HKSAR Government is to swiftly fight off the epidemic. With concerted efforts from the Government and the whole community, Hong Kong has largely achieved the target of “zero infection”. Yet, looking at the experience of different countries and regions as well as the prevailing circumstances of neighbouring areas, we can see that places with low vaccination rates are more susceptible to severe outbreaks, ravaging virus variants and epidemic rebounds. The dismal vaccination rate of less than 20% in Hong Kong is worrying indeed.
While persevering with the strategy of “preventing the importation of cases and the spreading of the virus in the community”, the HKSAR Government spares no efforts in encouraging vaccination among the public to build effective herd immunity as a barrier for protection throughout the territory. Local citizens may make appointments to receive vaccination at community vaccination centres in any of the 18 districts. In addition, an outreach vaccination service team, which has so far administered vaccines to the staff of an accounting firm and a construction site, has been set up by the Government.
The recent move by local property developers to offer a residential flat as a lucky draw prize for vaccinated citizens deserves recognition. We welcome the incentives proactively provided by the business sector to encourage vaccination as a way of fulfilling their corporate social responsibilities.
We should never try our luck in the fight against the epidemic. Vaccination is the best and only way to prevent Hong Kong from backtracking into recurrent waves of outbreak. At this critical juncture, I urge all of you not to hesitate and to get inoculated without delay to protect yourselves and others.