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CS reviews reconstruction projects funded by HKSAR in Sichuan (with photos/videos)

     To commemorate the completion of reconstruction projects funded by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in the Sichuan earthquake-stricken areas and the signing of Hong Kong-Sichuan co-operation agreements, a Collective Projects Completion Ceremony cum Signing Ceremony was held this afternoon (May 24) in Chengdu, Sichuan. The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Stephen Lam, and the Executive Vice-Governor of Sichuan, Mr Wei Hong, officiated at the ceremony.

      "After four years of concerted efforts, Hong Kong and Sichuan have taken forward a total of 190 reconstruction projects involving a total amount of HK$10 billion. As at today, 123 projects have been completed or have commenced operation. A vast majority of HKSAR-funded projects will be completed within this year," Mr Lam said.

     "The well-being of residents in the earthquake-stricken areas has always been the priority of both the Sichuan and HKSAR governments. The two governments have set up a three-tier liaison and co-ordination mechanism and have been maintaining close communication on project progress and the use of funds, with a view to ensuring quality and the safety of the projects. Independent professional consultants have also been engaged by the HKSAR Government to carry out work supervision and on-site inspection. These consultants also put forth their inspection findings to the Sichuan side for follow-up action. These measures have guaranteed that the projects completed meet the quality standards and that the facilities built can benefit the victims."

     During the ceremony, the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Executive Vice-Governor of Sichuan and other high-level officials witnessed the signing of agreements to strengthen Hong Kong-Sichuan co-operation in the areas of construction and tourism. Representatives from the Development Bureau of the HKSAR Government and the Sichuan Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development signed the "Co-operation Agreement on Construction between Sichuan and Hong Kong", and representatives from the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Tourism signed the "Co-operation Agreement on Tourism between Sichuan and Hong Kong".

      "Sichuan and Hong Kong have built up sound mutual trust and close partnership through the reconstruction work, and on this basis both sides will continue to promote multifaceted co-operation and exchange. The signing of co-operation agreements on construction and tourism at today's ceremony is only a start. The two governments will jointly explore the feasibility of implementing early and pilot measures relating to construction service in Sichuan to enable the construction sectors of both sides to open up areas of co-operation that will be mutually beneficial. The tourism administrations will also step up their joint efforts on promotion and enhancement of tourism service types and quality in both places," Mr Lam said.

     In the aftermath of the Wenchuan Earthquake on May 12, 2008, the Legislative Council of the HKSAR approved the injection of $9 billion into the Trust Fund in Support of Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Areas to take forward 151 HKSAR Government-led reconstruction projects and 32 non-governmental organisation (NGO) projects. The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) also set aside $1 billion to support seven reconstruction projects. The HKSAR reconstruction projects cover infrastructure, the Wolong Nature Reserve, education, medical and social welfare facilities, and the projects include both hardware construction and software services provision such as training. Apart from individual projects that are more technically complicated, most of HKSAR reconstruction projects are expected to be completed or to commence operation by the end of this year.

     Today's ceremony was attended by some 300 guests. The HKSAR officials attending the ceremony included the Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Joshua Law; the Team Leader, Sichuan Reconstruction, Development Bureau, Mr Mak Chai-kwong; the Permanent Secretary for Development, Mr Wai Chi-sing; the Permanent Secretary for Food and Health, Mr Richard Yuen; the Under Secretary for Education, Mr Kenneth Chen; and representatives from related bureaux and departments. Officials from the Sichuan Provincial Government attending the ceremony included the Vice-Commissioner of the Sichuan Development and Reform Commission, Ms Liu Yuan, and the Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the People's Government of Sichuan Province, Mr He Ping. Officials from the Sichuan provincial and local governments, representatives from the completed projects and representatives from the Hong Kong NGOs of the projects concerned were also present.

     Mr Lam co-hosted a high-level meeting with the Executive Vice-Governor of Sichuan after the ceremony. The meeting aimed to take stock of the reconstruction work of the HKSAR in Sichuan and make arrangements for further follow-up action.

     The delegation visited the Sichuan-Hong Kong Rehabilitation Centre in Chengdu in the morning. Located in Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital, the project is still under construction and is a flagship medical project of the HKSAR with funding of RMB225 million from the HKSAR Trust Fund. The project will provide orthopaedics, traumatology, physiotherapy, occupational care, prosthetic services and clinical psychological counselling. The centre will also serve as a hub for Sichuan's rehabilitation network and the training and development of related professionals. The project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2012.

     The HKSAR delegation will continue the visit to Sichuan tomorrow (May 25).

Ends/Thursday, May 24, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:27


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