HONG KONG (China Daily/ANN): Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam started her widely awaited fourth Policy Address Wednesday (Nov 25) with a pledge to uphold "one country, two systems" and with a promise to revive the special administrative region's economy battered by social unrest and the Covid-19 pandemic.
In opening her address at Hong Kong's Legislative Council, Lam stressed the SAR's economic integration with the Chinese mainland as the focal point of her blueprint.
She cited the central government's strong policy support in maintaining lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.
Lam cited Chapter 4 of the Basic Law to emphasise her laid out role and that there is no conflict between a committed executive and an independent judiciary.
She said external forces had so grossly interfered with Hong Kong affairs that the central government had to step in to guarantee Hong Kong residents' rights and freedoms in accordance with the Basic Law.
Lam said the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress's (NPCSC) decision on the qualification of LegCo members had absolute legal basis and the CE repeatedly stressed the rule of law in Hong Kong.
Lam said it was her government's urgent priority to restore constitutional order in Hong Kong and pull its political system out of "chaos". She said a bill will be introduced soon to enhance oath-taking measures.
Lam said she expected the SAR's economy to contract by 6.1 per cent in 2020 and pledged support for entrepreneurs to explore more market opportunities beyond Hong Kong.
She cited the central government's 12th and 14th five-year plans to point out central officials' vision for Hong Kong and said the SAR had a lot to benefit from the "dual circulation" model that placed a huge premium on the national domestic market.
She said her government will work to integrate proactively into national development,"striving to resolve the two major bottlenecks of land and talents, and investing substantially in I&T industries". She said Hong Kong could become a “participant” in domestic circulation and a “facilitator” in international circulation.
Lam said from end-2019 to end-September this year, the total deposits of banks grew by 7.3 percent while pointing out how Hong Kong had preserved its status as a global financial hub.
Lam said the Stock Connect trading schemes connecting mainland and Hong Kong bourses, will be enhanced by accelerating the introduction of new rules allowing loss-making mainland biotechnology firms to list in Hong Kong, and for stocks to be listed on the mainland’s sci-tech innovation board.
Lam said the Civil Aviation Administration of China has agreed to allow cross-boundary commercial helicopter services between Guangdong and Hong Kong and the central government will allow Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) to inject equity in Zhuhai airport. AAHK will commission the third runway in 2022 and the entire Three-Runway System in 2024 as planned, Lam said.
She said automated car parks will be developed on the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF) Island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, allowing self-driving visitors from Guangdong and Macao using HZMB to fly out from Hong Kong International Airport or visit Hong Kong to park their cars there.
The CE said the central government strongly supported the cooperation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in developing an international I&T hub in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area with a view to establishing "one zone, two parks" at "one river, two banks" under the auspices of "one country, two systems".
Lam said the central government had greenlighted the joint development of the Shenzhen/Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Co-operation Zone (SITZ), which comprises the Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Zone and the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park (HSITP) at the Lok Ma Chau Loop.
The CE also proposed launching a Global STEM Professorship Scheme for a period of five years at an estimated cost of HK$2 billion.
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