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Financial Secretary


Plugging the loopholes for effective governance

Last week, I signed my support for the improvement of electoral system of Hong Kong at a street counter and appeal people’s support at the same time.

Hong Kong was once a vibrant and energetic city. New town developments and large scale infrastructure works have enhanced the living quality in Hong Kong. Our conscientious workers and innovative entrepreneurs have contributed to Hong Kong's economic development and in turn increased people's overall income. Yet, the pace of our development has been slowing down in the past decade. With endless political turmoil and the non-functioning of the Legislative Council (LegCo), it has become difficult for the society to focus on social and economic issues. The Government's governing capability has been greatly undermined, hindering our social and economic developments and complicating the conflicts.

In recent years, the emergence of radical political element, together with the provocation of external forces, have triggered protests inside the LegCo and on the street and damaged the society. Following the 2014 illegal Occupy Central Movement, protests had been radicalised into series of disruptive and violent acts. At various platforms, some even sought overseas support for their political campaigns and advocacy for separatism. In the second half of 2019, the series of violence acts and the vandalism of LegCo have caused serious social turmoil and a huge blow to the economy, undermining people's interests and hindering Hong Kong's development. If this situation continues, Hong Kong's stability and prosperity would come to an end. Hong Kong would also become a loophole and be used as a pawn to threaten the national security and stability development of our country.

This crisis has reflected the fact that the past constitutional development in Hong Kong has not taken into account the need to safeguard the national security, and neglected the risk of Hong Kong being used for subverting the state power. If people with an anti-China and Hong Kong stance are allowed in Hong Kong's governance structure, external forces may exert interferences or drive a wedge between our own people, leading to social unrest and ruining Hong Kong's security and stability. Other countries around the world have strict laws to prevent the interference of external political forces, with stringent penalty provisions for acts of endangering national security or subversion against state power. The drastic changes and social unrest over the past few years in Hong Kong have proved the necessity and urgency in addressing this issue. Yet, how should we introduce protection in the system? How could we fence off the disturbance brought by the external forces and their agents? How should we prevent the security and interests of the Country and Hong Kong being harmed?

Last week, I signed my support for the improvement of electoral system of Hong Kong at a street counter and appeal people’s support at the same time.

The National People's Congress (NPC) has just passed the decision on improving the electoral system of Hong Kong to implement the basic principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”. This can plug the loopholes in our electoral system, prevent separatist forces or foreign agents from entering Hong Kong's governance structure through elections, or utilise that as a platform to threaten the security and interests of our Country and Hong Kong. This can also ensure that those administering Hong Kong could fully and faithfully implement the principles of “One Country, Two Systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a “high degree of autonomy”. Improving the electoral system could adjust the direction of Hong Kong's political and social development, enabling the steadfast and successful implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.

Together with the national security law enacted last year, the NPC has taken a “combination punches” approach to empower Hong Kong to tackle the constitutional disorder and social crises erupted over the past few years on the legal and system level. This will enable Hong Kong to restore political stability and social safety, escape the past political turmoil and avoid further non-functioning, bringing Hong Kong back to the right track and focus on development taking into account the interests of our Country and Hong Kong.

Another purpose of improving the electoral system is to enhance the governance effectiveness of the SAR Government. On one hand, it will promote a more rational interaction between the executive branch and the legislative branch and enables the strengths of an executive-led system. On the other hand, the future composition of the Election Committee and the LegCo could provide the SAR Government with greater space and capability to tackle deep-seated social and economic problems and strike a better balance between the interests of different stakeholders. To sum up, a more stable political environment with constructive interaction will facilitate us to focus on the planning and promotion of economic and social development. From co-ordinated development in the Greater Bay Area to the exploration and innovation of different industries like financial services, I&T, trading, transport and logistics, and cultural and art, I believe Hong Kong, benefitted from the solid support and steady development of our Country, will continue to make good use of our unique advantages and seize the opportunities for growth.

March 14, 2021

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