Policy Address: enhancing governance and building a bright future

10 October 2021

Last Wednesday, the Chief Executive delivered her fifth Policy Address entitled “Building a Bright Future Together”, the first policy speech since double safeguards have been provided by the Hong Kong National Security Law and the improved electoral system in the HKSAR. A total of some 310 new initiatives are introduced in the Policy Address and its Supplement to outline a blueprint for Hong Kong’s future development. With a new development pattern designed to further capitalise on our strengths and focus on addressing public concerns, a new era of good administration and governance is unfolding.

Boasting a visionary and ambitious plan for the future of Hong Kong, this year’s Policy Address has widely received positive feedback. I will render full support to the Chief Executive in the administration of the HKSAR and actively coordinate inter-bureau and inter-departmental efforts to take forward and implement various initiatives.

Fully and accurately implementing “One Country, Two Systems”

In the opening chapter titled “Steadfastly and Successfully Implementing ‘One Country, Two Systems’”, the Policy Address elaborates on the significance of implementing “One Country, Two Systems”, safeguarding national security and upholding the HKSAR’s constitutional order. Relevant work includes enacting local legislation to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law, introducing cybersecurity legislation, and tackling the spread of fake news and hate speech on social media. In this connection, I will call for regular updates from relevant policy bureaux, lead the Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee to strengthen education on the Constitution, the Basic Law and national security, and take forward the implementation of the oath-taking requirements for public officers.

Enhancing the effectiveness of governance

To achieve meritocracy, the Policy Address proposes to re-organise the policy bureaux, strengthen the governing team and review the selection and appointment mechanism for the senior levels of the civil service. I am in favour of attracting and developing talent as good leadership bolsters staff morale and team spirit, which in turn enhances the effectiveness of governance.

Resolving problems at root

The proposed Northern Metropolis Development Strategy, endowed with the most forward-looking vision since Hong Kong’s return to the Motherland, aims to form a vibrant metropolis with co-existence of development and conservation which offers ample development opportunities for housing, technology, business, tourism and employment. It will emerge as a win-win development strategy as the complementarity between the Northern Metropolis and the existing Harbour Metropolis will fortify Hong Kong’s inherent strengths and create new advantages. Hong Kong and Shenzhen will form a strategic layout of “Twin Cities, Three Circles” and, by joining hands to play their roles as dual engines, achieve the synergy effect of “one plus one is greater than two”.

Striving to resume quarantine-free travel with the Mainland

The Policy Address speaks explicitly of the Government’s proactive efforts to resume quarantine-free cross-boundary travel. On September 26, I led a delegation of the HKSAR Government to attend a meeting on anti-epidemic work with relevant authorities and experts on the Mainland. We had a candid exchange of views on the gradual and orderly resumption of quarantine-free travel between the two places and examined the risks which may arise from the resumption. I have asked relevant Directors of Bureaux to do their utmost in taking follow-up actions. The Innovation and Technology Bureau, for example, will develop a health code while the Food and Health Bureau will take the lead in further enhancing measures on testing, contact tracing and preventing community transmission. Meanwhile, I have directed all departments to conduct a thorough review of their work with a view to creating favourable conditions for quarantine-free travel. It is also our strong intention to have a second meeting held with relevant Mainland authorities as soon as possible.

HKSAR 25th anniversary celebrations

The Policy Address also highlights the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR to be celebrated next year. Hong Kong has undergone an extraordinary journey over the past 24 years. With the caring support from our country, we have witnessed the successful implementation of “One Country, Two Systems” along the way. To embark on preparing a rich array of celebrations, I have convened a meeting with relevant bureaux and departments. We will engage different sectors of society in organising and participating in the various events at home and abroad to celebrate and commemorate this momentous day of Hong Kong.