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CE's speech at Inauguration Ceremony of Fourth Term Government (with photo/video)

     Following is the translation of the speech delivered by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Fourth Term Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this morning (July 1):

Honourable President Hu, fellow people of Hong Kong, ladies and gentlemen,

     Today, I humbly take office as the fourth-term Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. During my tenure, I will fulfill the trust placed in me by the Central Government and the people of Hong Kong with policy achievements. I will spare no effort to carry out my election platform and lead Hong Kong in "seeking change while preserving stability". My goal is to develop the economy, improve people's livelihood, promote democracy and build a more prosperous, progressive and righteous society.

     Our country has given us staunch support since Hong Kong's return to the motherland. Ample opportunities have emerged. Not only have these guided and spurred our city's development, they have also enabled us to contribute to the reform and opening-up of our nation. We will continue working tirelessly towards the betterment and prosperity of both our country and Hong Kong.

     With the efforts of our entire community, we have successfully implemented the concept of "One Country, Two Systems" and the principle of "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" with a high degree of autonomy over the past 15 years. I wish to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to my predecessors, the Honourable Tung Chee-hwa and the Honourable Donald Tsang. Their relentless efforts have laid down a solid foundation for the successful implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong. I would also like to thank the Election Committee members and the Hong Kong community, whose participation has brought substantive meaning to this election. I hope that the entire community will render their concerted effort in building the future of Hong Kong.

     Since I declared my decision to stand for election for the Chief Executive, I have made over 100 district visits and reached out to over 10 000 people from different strata and sectors of society. In the next five years, my team and I will continue to stay in close touch with the people, so as to narrow both the physical and psychological distances between the Government and the community. We will listen carefully to people's suggestions and ideas. We will respond to their views and needs in a pragmatic manner.

     In my election declaration, I stressed that "there is no need for a major reversal of policy. We only need an appropriately proactive government which seeks change while maintaining stability." From today, we will turn words into deeds. We will focus our energy on addressing the major and pressing issues. To formulate effective policies and strategies, the preparatory task forces on Economic Development Commission, Financial Services Development Council and Commission on Poverty will commence operation today. They will address issues from a high-level perspective and with inter-departmental and cross-sector collaboration. We will ensure that both policy research and implementation deliver results.

     Continued economic development is the foundation of Hong Kong's prosperity. The livelihoods of our people depend on it. Our business and financial sectors have been the major driving forces behind Hong Kong's economic development. To promote sustained and robust economic development, the Government must assist investors and enterprises, large and small, to seize opportunities arising from our nation's and the world's economic growth.

     Economic diversification and thriving industries can improve our job market, provide better opportunities for upward mobility and contribute to a stronger middle class.  Our country has given Hong Kong strong backing in the National 12th Five-Year Plan. We must capitalise on the opportunities to consolidate and elevate Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre and help the shipping industry to restructure and upgrade. We must also fully implement all economic and trade agreements signed with Mainland counterparts to expand job opportunities and development potential in the Mainland for Hong Kong people.

     We also need to formulate industry policy to promote and support the pillar industries that are essential to our economic development, including supporting Hong Kong enterprises operating outside Hong Kong and new industries with growth potential. We fully recognise the contribution to our economy by Hong Kong businesses operating in the Mainland and will continue to support their restructuring and upgrading.

     For our economy to flourish, we must ensure that issues relating to our population and livelihood are properly addressed.

     The quality of our society depends on the quality of our people, which in turn depends on the quality of education. My Government will carry out long-term planning on population policy to improve our population structure and the quality of our people. This will sustain steady development of our society and economy, create a bright future for individuals and nurture outstanding talents for society. To this end, education policies must be devised from a professional perspective, taking a student-oriented approach to enable students to equip themselves well and achieve their full potential.

     It is a common aspiration for people to own their own home. Housing tops the list of livelihood issues that are of public concern. I believe that housing issues should be tackled through planning and supply. We need to provide more public housing and assist low-income groups to secure flats. Public housing resources should be allocated in a fair and reasonable way to increase circulation. We need to increase land supply appropriately to maintain a stable property market and assist middle-income families to buy their own homes. To enhance the sense of belonging in our society and promote social mobility, we will also encourage home purchase. We will formulate a long-term housing strategy, improve district planning and set up a land reserve to respond swiftly to changes in market. This will enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong and improve the quality of life for our people.

     Families are our pillars and a key element for social stability. We need to foster family harmony and support the underprivileged. It is our social responsibility to ensure that the elderly are honoured for their special place in the family, loved in the way they have loved us and respected for their life-long contributions. Special attention should be given to those who need financial assistance to meet their basic needs.

     Young people represent the future of our society. Youth policy should be formulated from a developmental perspective, creating a favourable environment for new generations to unleash their potential, vitality and creativity.

     As a generally affluent society, Hong Kong has all the necessary prerequisites to satisfy the basic needs of the people. Everyone in our community should be able to share in the fruits of our economic development. I will set up the Commission on Poverty as early as possible to review, study and systematically address the issues relating to poverty among the elderly, the working poor, cross-generational poverty, poverty affecting new immigrants and ethnic minorities, and regional poverty. We will also actively promote twin-track provision of medical services by the public and private sectors, so that medical services are accessible to all, regardless of wealth.

     The seven million Hong Kong people are one family. We will work to make Hong Kong a more livable city. We will encourage energy saving and pollution reduction. We will also further promote awareness of greening and conservation and play a role in protecting our natural environment.

     The Government remains committed to respecting the freedom of religion. We will also endeavour to enhance our cultural literacy and encourage creativity.

     I will honour the pledges I have made - to uphold justice, protect the rights of the people, safeguard the rule of law, clean government, freedom and democracy which are amongst the core values of Hong Kong, and take an inclusive approach towards different opinions and views. I will do my utmost to safeguard human rights and make sure that press freedom and the independence of the media are respected.

     I will promote the development of a democratic political system in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law and the relevant decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. I will further develop the political appointment and accountability system to enhance the efficiency of the Government. I will also build a service-oriented government, establish partnership with the people and encourage public engagement to draw energy from every corner of our community.

     The new term Government will continue to uphold the concept of "One Country, Two Systems" and the principle of "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" with a high degree of autonomy. While safeguarding the interests of our country and Hong Kong, we should properly address the relationship between "One Country" and "Two Systems". We will also strengthen unity and cohesion between different sectors of our society.

     Effective policy implementation hinges on effective governance. The relationship between the legislature and the executive is an integral part of governance. For bills to be passed and policies endorsed, we need the support of the Legislative Council as well as the community at large. It is my hope that my Government will strengthen communication and co-operation with the Legislative Council. With one heart and one vision, we will work for the well-being of our people.

     The 18 districts of Hong Kong each have their own strengths and characteristics. We will actively support the functions of the District Councils through resource allocation and policy formulation. This will enable community issues to be resolved and local opportunities seized at the district level.

     In my election platform, I shared with everyone my vision that "Hong Kong is our home". To build this home, we need to reinforce solidarity and amass collective wisdom. I believe in the power of the people. I believe in the synergy that comes from unifying different sectors of the community and the many different trades and businesses.

     Standing for election was a humbling experience. It made me realise my own shortcomings and helped me appreciate the collective wisdom of our society. What's more, it helped me better understand the importance of accepting media and public scrutiny.

     Our community faces many challenges. We need to stand united, face difficulties with fortitude and determination, and respond to different views with an inclusive attitude. I believe that we can resolve the conflicts that exist in our society and the clashes that may arise from different values or political ideologies. We need to listen, and be inclusive and patient in seeking a consensus.

     President Hu, fellow people of Hong Kong, ladies and gentlemen, today I am being sworn into office together with principal officials of the fourth-term Government and members of the Executive Council. I trust that my team will work together harmoniously and dedicate themselves to serving the community. With one heart and one vision, we should be able to build Hong Kong into an ideal home for us all. A home where children grow up healthy, young people make their dreams come true, those in the prime of life bring out the best in themselves and the elderly enjoy a decent life. With our concerted efforts, Hong Kong, this Pearl of the Orient, will shine even more brightly.

     Thank you.

Ends/Sunday, July 1, 2012
Issued at HKT 13:12


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