April 19, 2023
HONG KONG – Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, met with representatives from Hong Kong’s business and scientific communities on Monday — the fifth day of his inspection tour of the city — saying he will carefully consider suggestions put forward to further improve the city’s business environment and strengthen economic and scientific cooperation with the Chinese mainland.
Hong Kong lawmakers called Xia’s unprecedented visit to the city’s legislature on Sunday “a milestone event” following the city’s return to order, and reflects the importance the central government attaches to the city’s legislative work and overall development.
The central government official arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday and will wrap up his six-day tour on Tuesday. On Monday morning, he exchanged views with leaders of commercial chambers at the special administrative region’s Central Government Offices. He then visited the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, and met with representatives of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and other financial leaders.
Allen Shi Lop-tak, president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, told Xia that the “one country, two systems” principle will be firmly adhered to in Hong Kong, and that Hong Kong will maintain stability and enjoy more prosperity and freedom than before as long as the city continues to take advantage of the Basic Law.
Shi said he told Xia that he hopes the central government will provide more favorable policies and incentives for Hong Kong businesses to expand on the Chinese mainland, unify goods importation standards between the two places and strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights. Xia said he will consider the suggestions after returning to Beijing and hopes they can be adopted in the near future, according to Shi.
Xia went to Hong Kong Science Park on Monday afternoon, where he learned more about the city’s innovative achievements, and visited a lab that develops robots for medical surgeries.
Xia was inspired by the technological achievements Hong Kong has made in such a short time, saying the city could make a greater contribution to the country in science and technology. Xia believes Hong Kong’s goal of building an international innovation and technology hub will be achieved soon with the whole community’s participation, according to Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Sun Dong.
Following that, Xia headed to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and talked with its president Nancy Chu Ip Yuk-yu and some professors. He inspected two key laboratories at HKUST.
On Sunday, Xia met and had lunch with the city’s more than 80 lawmakers during a visit to the Legislative Council. Xia spoke highly of the seventh Legislative Council’s work and encouraged members to keep serving the public interest, according to Andrew Leung Kwanyuen, LegCo president.
Leung said without the implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong and the electoral reform under the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”, there would have been no such opportunity for an arrangement to enable central government officials to communicate with lawmakers.
Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, chairperson of the New People’s Party, said that due to the previous obstructions caused by opposition lawmakers, it used to be quite difficult for central government officials to visit the legislature. Since the city’s electoral system has now been improved, Ip hopes Hong Kong will be able to demonstrate its high-quality democracy to the world.
During Xia’s visit in Hong Kong, he met with a wide range of government officials and social leaders, reached out to local communities and delivered a keynote speech about the significance of safeguarding national security on the National Security Education Day on Saturday.
The official also inspected the Northern Metropolis, an ambitious development project that aims to turn northern Hong Kong into a new development engine of the city; and the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Island, a significant part of the city’s reclamation plans to ease land shortages.