2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (15)
255. The Government will build sizable public markets in NDAs and has initially identified suitable sites in the Tung Chung New Town Extension Area and Hung Shui Kiu NDA. The Government will continue to identify suitable sites in other NDAs. In addition, we will continue to enhance the hardware of a number of existing public markets, including reprovisioning, reconfiguration and upgrading of facilities, etc. We will also take forward progressively the installation of air-conditioning in public markets which have obtained overwhelming support from tenants (totalling 10 markets at present). We will endeavour to deliver hardware and management enhancement in parallel with a view to revitalising and modernising the operation and management of markets, so as to ensure that the enhancement measures are sustainable.
256. Through the 2015 Keep Clean Campaign and the subsequent regular meeting mechanism between the Secretary for Food and Health and the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the relevant Committees on Environmental Hygiene under the District Councils (DCs), our work on environmental hygiene has borne fruit. The Government will allocate an additional $119 million a year to enhance environmental hygiene and strengthen the related enforcement and prosecution work.
257. The Government re-introduced the Private Columbaria Bill to the LegCo last November. The columbarium development projects supported by the DCs in the past few years will provide a total of about 589 000 new niches, about two-thirds of the overall planned number of new niches. We will consult the DCs on the remaining nine projects. To meet long-term demand, the Government will promote green burials.
258. The 18 districts are pressing ahead with the District-led Actions Scheme which helps address long-standing problems and capitalise on opportunities in the districts. A total of 39 projects are being rolled out in the 18 districts this year. Furthermore, from the next financial year, we will provide an additional $100 million to the Community Involvement Programme, bringing its annual funding to some $461 million, so as to enable the 18 DCs to further enhance the implementation or sponsorship of community involvement projects.
259. Funding approval has been given to most of the projects proposed by the 18 DCs under the Signature Project Scheme. The Government will follow up with the DCs.
260. The Government will launch Phase 3 of the Building Management Professional Advisory Service Scheme to enhance support for owners of old buildings, and assist owners of "three nil" buildings in forming owners' corporations (OCs), and support OCs in discharging their responsibilities.
Law and Order
261. Last year, I proposed a comprehensive review of the strategy for handling non-refoulement claims. The revised strategy is delivering results. Compared with 2015, the number of non-ethnic Chinese illegal immigrants in 2016 dropped by 40%, while the number of non-refoulement claimants dropped by nearly a quarter. The Immigration Department will expedite the screening of claims. The Security Bureau is exploring amendments to the Immigration Ordinance to improve the screening procedures.
Strengthening the Legislation on Anti-terrorism and Emergency Response Measures
262. In recent years, terrorist activities have gone rampant around the globe. We must be vigilant and stay alert. The Government will work with the international community to further improve our anti-terrorism regime, and enhance our emergency training efforts and handling capability. We will amend the legislation to further reduce the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Twentieth Anniversary of Return to the Motherland
263. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. The Government is organising a series of large-scale celebration activities under the theme of "Together ‧ Progress ‧ Opportunity". Our Mainland and overseas offices will also organise celebration events in over 80 cities worldwide.
Successful Implementation of the Basic Law
264. Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the principle of "one country, two systems" has been implemented in accordance with the Basic Law. The Basic Law ensures Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, and allows us to ride on the dual advantages of "one country" and "two systems" to accomplish new achievements and make further progress in social and economic developments. CEPA, Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, and the major cross-boundary infrastructure projects nearing completion exemplify the fruitful co-operation between Hong Kong and the Mainland.
265. Hong Kong has been contributing to the country's internationalisation and connection with the world. Hong Kong serves not only as the offshore RMB centre of our country, but also the special administrative region for early and pilot implementation of liberalisation of trade in services through CEPA. As the most open international city of the country, Hong Kong plays the role of a "super-connector", helping our country go global and attract foreign investment.
266. The Government attaches great importance to Basic Law promotion and education. The Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee has been co-ordinating and overseeing the work in this area. Besides targeting the general public, the committee particularly focuses its attention on schools, major sectors and groups such as the industrial, commercial and professional sectors and civil service bodies, as well as overseas promotion.
267. The current-term Government has strengthened its efforts to promote the principle of "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law by organising seminars, talks and thematic exhibitions. Such activities enable people from different walks of life to gain a correct, comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the complete concept of "one country, two systems", and deepen their understanding of the relationship between the Central Authorities and the HKSAR under the Basic Law. In addition, the current-term Government has stepped up efforts on Basic Law promotion and education for students and young people, providing a wide variety of learning packages for schools and organising extra-curricular activities.
Rule of Law and Judicial Independence
268. The rule of law is the cornerstone of Hong Kong's success and has for many years earned us international acclaim. We must work together to preserve it. Judicial independence is the foundation of the rule of law and fully protected by the Basic Law. The Government has full respect for judicial independence and will spare no efforts in maintaining the rule of law in Hong Kong.
Maintaining a Clean Society
269. A clean society is a core value of Hong Kong and one of the key elements in ensuring Hong Kong's competitiveness. Our anti-corruption mechanism is fair, vigorous and effective. The Independent Commission Against Corruption has been enforcing the laws impartially regardless of the background, identity or status of the accused. The Government is committed to combating corruption and joins hands with all sectors of the community to keep our public and private sectors clean.
Enhancing the Voter Registration System
270. The Government published the Consultation Report on Enhancement of Voter Registration System early last year, proposing enhancement of the system. Some proposed measures were implemented last year. We are now drawing up proposals to follow up on the longer-term measures which involve amendments to various electoral legislation as recommended in the consultation report.
The Civil Service
271. The success of the Government in implementing initiatives and rolling out public services is due in no small measure to a united, efficient, distinguished and professional civil service. Caring for the welfare and remuneration for civil servants at all levels, the Government carries out reviews as appropriate from time to time.
272. To continuously improve the medical and dental benefits for the civil service, the Government will strengthen the clinical psychology service for civil servants, and set up additional specialised dental surgeries.
273. Mr President, Honourable Members and fellow citizens, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the Motherland. Over the past two decades, our country has made remarkable achievements, playing an increasingly important role in international affairs. Under the arrangement of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong has benefited from the strength of "one country" and the convenience of "two systems". With the rapid growth in the Mainland and the favourable initiatives offered by our country, the current-term Government and the Hong Kong community shall make good use of the unique dual advantages of "one country, two systems", leverage our economic development for improving people's livelihood, and at the same time contribute to our country's development.
274. As we benefit from the opportunities brought by the development of our country and the national policies in our favour, we must clearly recognise that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of our country. This is both a legal fact and an internationally recognised political reality, leaving no room whatsoever for Hong Kong to become independent or separate from the Motherland in any manner. The high degree of autonomy that Hong Kong enjoys shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law. The autonomy is not absolute or arbitrary. Nor can it take any other form or be exercised to any other degree. Amidst international relations of great complexity, it is the obligation of each and every Hong Kong citizen to safeguard our country's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
275. The current-term Government will continue to implement "one country, two systems" strictly in accordance with the Basic Law, uphold Hong Kong's core values, including human rights, liberty, democracy, the rule of law and integrity, and build a stable and harmonious society.
276. This last Policy Address in my term of office reviews the achievements of the current-term Government and reports the preparations I have made for the medium and long-term development of Hong Kong. Five years ago, I said that we should "rise to the challenges ahead". The phrase epitomises not only my aspiration at that time, but also what we Hong Kong people have experienced in the course of building this place that we call home. "Challenges" speaks of our understanding of the problems, and "rise" embodies our determination and action. Five years ago, I put forward a holistic and concrete Election Manifesto. Throughout these five years, I published a work report every year to update the public on the progress of implementing the Manifesto. Today, all commitments in my Election Manifesto have basically been implemented. I would like to extend my gratitude to all politically appointed officials and civil servants for their dedication. My thanks also go to the Executive Council, the LegCo, the statutory bodies as well as members of the public for your support and co-operation.
277. The front and back covers of this year's Policy Address feature photos of Victoria Harbour. Magnificent at day and radiant at night, the view of Victoria Harbour symbolises the achievements due to the endeavours of generations of pragmatic and enterprising Hong Kong people. Hong Kong is a blessed land. We must cherish the blessing and treasure our hard-earned achievements, advantages and cross-strata harmony. We must also value our opportunities and waste no time. Let us work with one heart and one vision to create a promising future.
278. Building on our previous success to strive for an even better future, we, Hong Kong people of this generation, shoulder an important and epic responsibility. In the coming half year, I and the HKSAR Government will continue to work with full dedication for the overall long-term interests of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is my home. With my great affection and commitment for this place, I shall continue to join hands with all 7 million Hong Kong people to make contributions to Hong Kong and our country.
279. Thank you.
Ends/Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 13:28
Issued at HKT 13:28
2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (1) (with photos/video) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (2) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (3) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (4) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (5) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (6) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (7) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (8) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (9) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (10) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (11) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (12) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (13) 2017 Policy Address by Chief Executive (14)