PETALING JAYA: Beijing’s master plan to develop Shenzhen into a world-class model city in six to 15 years is an answer to the US trade aggression on China and Hong Kong’s current political crisis, according to an analysis by state-owned Global Times.
Last Sunday, while thousands of protestors were braving the rain to stage another massive pro-democracy and anti-China rally in Hong Kong, Beijing unveiled a major plan to turn Shenzhen into a top global city.
The plan, which contains “opinions” of the central government, aims to develop Shenzhen into a “better place” than neighbouring Hong Kong in almost all aspects – from business and investments, innovation and high technology, to education and living.
Under the plan, Shenzhen will become the administrative centre of the Greater Bay area that covers Hong Kong, Macao and Guandong Province in which Shenzhen sits.
It will also become a banking centre to promote the internationalisation of the yuan, as well as a hub for Big Data development and international aviation.
By 2035, this Chinese city will “lead the world” in economic competitiveness, the document said.
The Global Times analysis, which included views by experts, said Shenzhen would become a key ground for China to tackle tricky issues from a never-ending trade and technological battle with the United States to chaos in Hong Kong.
In order for Shenzhen to become a “model city” with global competitiveness, this city will carry out further reforms and opening up measures.
“In a way, you can say that this plan is an answer to the current challenges, ” Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told Global Times.Gao, familiar with the document, said the plan could prepare China to deal with the US trade war and boost Hong Kong’s economy to address social issues.
Currently, Shenzhen is hit by the China-US trade and technology war. Many technology giants, including Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp and dronemaker DJI, are based in the city.
Electronics and other products produced in Shenzhen have also been hit.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei has acknowledged the difficulties the company faces.
In a speech posted on Monday, Ren said that Huawei is in “a life and death” situation and called for reforms and remedial measures.“Huawei’s situation reflects a challenge for the whole country, as the United States appears determined to contain China’s rise in crucial technologies of the future from 5G to artificial intelligence to biotech, ” said Global Times.The report sees Shenzhen’s plan as boosting research and development in technology, providing better protection of intellectual property rights and capable of attracting global companies and talents.
While many people are still scrutinising the plan, the reaction from the technology sector in Shenzhen and surrounding cities has been “very positive, ” according to businessmen interviewed by Global Times.
“Many companies have been affected by the US trade war and the mood here has been low, so this policy statement offers much-needed guidance and a confidence boost, ” said a businessman.
According to Global Times, the master plan to boost Shenzhen could also offer opportunities for Hong Kong, whose economic prospects have been severely dimmed by violent riots that have lasted over 11 weeks.
The Hong Kong economy is already facing recessionary pressure and officials have warned of further deterioration.
A commentator on YouTube in a popular post “Clever China” opined that the plan marginalises Hong Kong and “it looks like Hong Kong will become part of Shenzhen in future if it does not behave.”
According to Sunday’s policy document, Beijing is keen to “enrich the practice of one country, two systems and continuously enhancing the sense of identity and cohesiveness of Hong Kong and Macau.
“The timing in the release of the document sends out a warning to Hong Kongers: you can continue to be chaotic and cherish your political freedom, but in no time you will be one of China’s provinces, ” said another commentator on another YouTube.
After the handover in 1997, the former British colony operates under a “one country, two systems” framework, which gives citizens wide-ranging democratic rights non-existent on the mainland across the border.
“If Hong Kong is still not ready to embrace opportunities to join the country’s development, its development would be very limited in the future while Shenzhen is running at a much faster speed’, ” said Tian Feilong, a professor at Beihang University, while speaking to the Global Times.
Gao told Global Times:“The situation in Hong Kong is very complicated but ensuring economic growth will definitely help address some of the issues. I think that’s also a consideration for the plan.”
Hong Kong has been plagued by massive protests since mid-June. China has accused the United States, UK and Taiwan of instigating and financing protestors in the city.
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