Toronto ETO hosts official gala dinner in celebration of 20th anniversary of HKSAR in Toronto (with photos)
In delivering the welcome remarks at the dinner, the Director of the Toronto ETO, Miss Kathy Chan, said that the HKSAR 20th anniversary is a special occasion and a major milestone in Hong Kong's development. "Over the past 20 years, the real Gross Domestic Product of Hong Kong has achieved a cumulative growth of more than 80 per cent. The number of regional headquarters and offices set up by overseas and Mainland corporations in Hong Kong has increased by 50 per cent. The amount of foreign direct investment stock has expanded by 6.5 times," Miss Chan said.
With a strong dedication to building a fair and just society for all, the HKSAR Government has allocated substantial resources to care for the needy to ensure that they can also enjoy the fruits of economic advancement. At the same time, the Government has also invested heavily in education to nurture talents so as to maintain the competitiveness of Hong Kong. Miss Chan noted that over the past five years alone, recurrent expenditures on social welfare and education have increased by about 70 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.
The theme of the HKSAR 20th anniversary celebrations is "Together‧Progress‧ Opportunity". "The past 20 years have not always been smooth sailing for Hong Kong. We have faced many challenges, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the global financial crisis in 2008. We could not have overcome the uphill battles without Hong Kong people staying together," Miss Chan said.
"More importantly, we would not have been able to prevail at difficult times without the staunch support of the Central Government," Miss Chan added. She cited the measures rolled out at those crucial moments by the Central Government including the signing of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement in 2003 and the usage of Hong Kong as the launch pad of Mainland China's financial market liberalisation measures since 2008 under the "one country, two systems" arrangement.
Despite the remarkable economic and social achievements in the past 20 years, Miss Chan said that to sustain progress it is important for Hong Kong to press ahead with big projects, such as those in infrastructure, education and healthcare development.
On infrastructure, Miss Chan said that the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is targeted for completion by the end of this year to provide a direct land link between Hong Kong and the west coast of the Pearl River Delta. Hong Kong also aims to commission service of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link in the third quarter of next year. At the same time, Hong Kong has embarked on construction works for the third runway of the Hong Kong International Airport in order to strengthen its position as a regional aviation hub.
In terms of improving the well-being of the community, the HKSAR Government has earmarked a sum of $200 billion for a 10-year hospital development plan. The Government will also devote extra resources to better education for the next generation and vigorously attract talents from all over the world, including Canada, to develop careers in Hong Kong.
Miss Chan remarked that in future Hong Kong will continue to seize every opportunity to grow with its sound fundamentals, such as the rule of law, clean and efficient government, low taxes, business-friendly practices with a level playing field, and world-class infrastructure. She said she was confident that Hong Kong would be able to achieve another 20 years of remarkable progress and continue to shine on the international stage as Asia's world city.
To showcase the long-standing friendship and close interactions between Canada and Hong Kong, the Toronto ETO collaborated with the HKTB to engage renowned Hong Kong culinary master and Executive Chef of VEA Restaurant and Lounge in Hong Kong Mr Vicky Cheng and the Executive Chef of Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Mr Robert Mills to jointly present an exquisite dinner menu that incorporated and blended the essence of Hong Kong and Canadian cuisines.
Before the Gala came to a close, the guests were treated to an exclusive cultural performance staged by Hong Kong and Canadian performers. Young talented artists of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts put on an unforgettable Cantonese opera performance of the noted excerpt "Eight Divinities Crossing the Sea" together with the starlets of the Starlight Chinese Opera Performing Arts Centre in Toronto. Cantonese opera performance was picked because it is a comprehensive and sophisticated art form which was inscribed in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. Hong Kong has been an important place for the succession and development of Cantonese opera, and is keen on promoting it and sharing it with wider communities including friends in Canada.
Ends/Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:36
Issued at HKT 14:36