CE's speech in delivering "The Chief Executive's 2022 Policy Address" to LegCo (1) (with photos/video)
Mr President, Honourable Members and fellow citizens,
Foreword: Start a New Chapter Together
1. Today, I deliver the first Policy Address after my assumption of office as the Chief Executive. I deeply feel that I am charged with a heavy responsibility. I keep pondering the questions: What are the major concerns of our people? What is their vision for Hong Kong? And what are their expectations towards the Policy Address? Here, I express my gratitude to our people and all sectors of the community for offering me a wealth of suggestions over the past three months, and to my team for their concerted support. Together, we strive to build a better Hong Kong.
2. The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. The pandemic and rapidly worsening global economic outlook, coupled with high inflation, interest rate hikes, tightening monetary policies, trade disputes and geopolitical tensions, have weakened the growth momentum of the global economy. This will affect the pace of our economic recovery.
3. Notwithstanding the challenges, Hong Kong has its own overriding advantages and enjoys abundant opportunities under the "One Country, Two Systems". With the strongest business environment worldwide, Hong Kong is an international financial, trade and shipping centre, as well as the world's largest offshore Renminbi (RMB) business centre. Apart from these, our emerging industries, such as innovation and technology (I&T), are thriving. Hong Kong has advanced infrastructure in both hardware and software, a sound legal system and top-notch talents from all over the world. Located at the heart of Asia, Hong Kong is the most preferred destination for multinational corporations to set up their operations in Asia. An open and diversified metropolis where old and new styles meet, Hong Kong is also an appealing city embracing both Chinese and Western cultures.
4. Under the "One Country, Two Systems", Hong Kong has the distinctive advantages of enjoying strong support of the Motherland and being closely connected to the world. Having direct access to the huge Mainland market and strong international connectivity at the same time, Hong Kong serves as a bridge linking the Mainland and the rest of the world. Key national strategies including the 14th Five-Year Plan, the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), and the Belt and Road Initiative provide Hong Kong with unlimited opportunities.
5. This year, the greatest encouragement was brought to us by President Xi Jinping's visit to Hong Kong to attend the meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the Motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), where he delivered an important speech. President Xi put forward "four musts" and "four proposals" and said that "Hong Kong will prosper only when its young people thrive". This has reinforced the confidence of all sectors of the community in our future development. I am grateful to President Xi for his important speech, which now serves as my governance blueprint. Hong Kong has achieved a major transition from chaos to order, and is now at the crucial stage of advancing from stability to prosperity. In the next five years, I will lead the government team to unite and motivate all sectors of the community, and give full play to our fine traditions of inclusiveness, unity and respect for different viewpoints. We will make our best endeavour, all for better serving our people and better developing Hong Kong, so that the Pearl of the Orient will shine brighter than ever.
6. This is a Policy Address for Hong Kong citizens. I will now outline my governing beliefs, visions and policy initiatives. Let us start a new chapter together for Hong Kong.
II. Build a Solid Foundation for Security while Upholding the Principle and Leveraging the Advantages of "One Country, Two Systems"
7. The principle of "One Country, Two Systems" is the best institutional safeguard for the long‑term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. As stressed by President Xi Jinping in his important speech delivered on 1 July, "One Country, Two Systems" has been tested repeatedly in practice, so there is no reason for us to change such a good policy, and we must adhere to it in the long run. The President has set a definitive tone and given strong assurances to Hong Kong, dispelling past discussions over the principle of "One Country, Two Systems".
8. The top priority of the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" is to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. As clearly reflected from the experience over the past 25 years since our return to the Motherland, we must fully and faithfully implement the principle of "One Country, Two Systems", safeguard the HKSAR's constitutional basis and order as laid down by the Constitution of the People's Republic of China (the Constitution) and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (the Basic Law), implement the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" and uphold the overarching principle of safeguarding national security. The more firmly the "One Country" principle is upheld, the greater strength the "Two Systems" will be unleashed.
9. Over the past 25 years, Hong Kong has overcome various challenges and forged ahead with progressive development. Our pace has not slowed despite the changing external environment, the impact of the epidemic and the social unrest previously. Nevertheless, the prosperity and stability we now enjoy cannot be taken for granted. Having restored order from chaos, we must stay alert to threats and dangers, adopt bottom-line thinking, and sustain our efforts in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests in order to guard vigilantly against the recurrence of threats. Following our transition from chaos to order, Hong Kong is advancing from stability to prosperity with our constitutional order better safeguarded and our governance systems improved. Development is of overriding importance. Hong Kong has considerable room for development given our sound foundation for growth, as well as the advantages of enjoying strong support of the Motherland and being closely connected to the world under the principle of "One Country, Two Systems".
Fully and Faithfully Implement the Principle of "One Country, Two Systems"
10. The development of Hong Kong allows no delay. Social stability is the prerequisite for our development, and we have to get rid of any interference. We must carry on the mainstream values characterised by the love of both the Motherland and Hong Kong at the core and in conformity with the principle of "One Country, Two Systems", and motivate the whole community to work together to create a better future.
11. We will continue to steadfastly safeguard the constitutional order of the HKSAR and our country's fundamental system set out under the Constitution. We will further strengthen publicity and education on the Constitution, the Basic Law and the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the National Security Law). The Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee, led by the Chief Secretary for Administration, will be renamed the Constitution and the Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee to underline the importance the Government attaches to the promotion of the Constitution as well as our determination to take forward relevant work.
12. To further preserve the dignity of the regional flag and the regional emblem as a symbol and ensign of the HKSAR, the Government will introduce into the Legislative Council (LegCo) amendments to the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance within the current legislative year to align with the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance and the National Anthem Ordinance as appropriate.
13. To ensure the faithful adherence to the legislative intent of the National Security Law, we will further strengthen the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security by pressing ahead with the preparatory work for the enactment of legislation to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law, legislating for the regulation of online and offline crowdfunding activities, making laws for enhancing cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, completing the consultancy study on addressing the issue of false information for policy consideration, etc.
14. To implement "patriots administering Hong Kong", the Government will strictly adhere to the improved electoral system in organising various elections in accordance with the law. Patriots aspiring to participate in politics and policy debates will be given the opportunities to be elected in a fair, just and open manner. Moreover, the Government will, on the basis of integrity and competence, draw widely on outstanding individuals who love the Motherland and Hong Kong and with resolute stance, strong governance capabilities and the passion to serve the community into the Government and various committees and public bodies.
15. I will strengthen and implement the executive-led structure and continue to explore ways to foster constructive and interactive relationships between the executive and the legislature. The Ante Chamber exchange sessions will be refined to strengthen exchanges with Members of the LegCo, so as to achieve better collaboration in policy formulation. Together, we can enhance our governing capability by following through decisions made after informed discussion.
Reinforce the Core Value of the Rule of Law
16. The Government will safeguard independent judicial power. We fully support the Judiciary in exercising its judicial power independently in accordance with the law, and protect and support judges, prosecutors and legal practitioners in discharging their duties in accordance with the law. We will safeguard due administration of justice and the rule of law to enhance the confidence of the public and the international community in our rule of law.
17. The Government will establish the Steering Committee on Rule of Law Education, to be chaired by the Secretary for Justice, to launch a new "Rule of Law Education Train-the-Trainers Programme" for promoting consistent and correct messages on the rule of law in the community.
(To be continued.)
Ends/Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Issued at HKT 11:13
Issued at HKT 11:13
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CE releases "The Chief Executive's 2022 Policy Address"
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