New starting point for a new journey
In a blink of an eye, we have come to end June 2022 and the term of the current Government is going to end soon. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to motherland, which is also a milestone for the implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" arrangement in Hong Kong. After experiencing the impact of the black clad violence and the COVID-19 pandemic in the past three years, Hong Kong is now standing on the key starting point of governance and prosperity, and this brings us hope for the future.
|Some days ago, I attended a graduation ceremony of a secondary school and took the opportunity to listen more young people's views on the future.
I have joined the HKSAR Government for a decade. During my term as the Financial Secretary in the last five years, I have been working hard to promote the diversification of economic development, particularly in the aspects of financial services and innovation & technology. I have also stood firm in the defense of national security and financial security and struck a right balance between promoting development and safeguarding security. At the same time, I have made good use of the fiscal resources to enhance public services and provide relieves to the people. I am grateful and glad for joining the governance team of the coming Government, continuing to join hands with you all to strive for a better future for Hong Kong.
In the coming few years, amid the profoundly changing international political and economic situation, Hong Kong will continue to face a complex, severe and multifaceted external environment. Therefore, safeguarding the country's sovereignty, security and development interests, ensuring the steadfast and successful implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" arrangement, maintaining Hong Kong's financial security, and at the same time consolidating and enhancing Hong Kong's role as the country's international financial centre are extremely important. Strengthening national identity, deepening understanding, learning about and upholding the constitutional order of Hong Kong, and safeguarding the Central Government's authority and overall jurisdiction in Hong Kong are core, fundamental tasks that have to be continuously promoted. A safe and stable social environment is the major premise for citizens to live and work in peace and happiness and for the society's all-round development.
Looking back at the past quarter century, Hong Kong's economy has flourished, serving Mainland and international enterprises and investors while bringing together Mainland and international capital and talents. Our per capita GDP is nearly US$50,000, which ranks among the top in the world. But at the same time, some problems have arisen in the course of the development. Taking economic structure as an example, while the financial services industry accounted for over 23% of the Hong Kong economy in 2020, it only took up 7.5% of the total employment; the trading and logistics industry accounted for 19.8% of the Hong Kong economy, but it took up almost 17% of our total employment, much higher than that of the financial services industry. These few figures have already illustrated the importance of diversity in economic structure. While some industries are more favourable for economic growth, others offer relatively more jobs. In the future, we have to promote industrial diversification even more comprehensively, develop in multiple directions, and pursue the continuous upgrading of industries in order to support economic development with equal emphasis on both "quality" and "quantity". Not only can this reduce the volatility of the economic cycle and boost economic growth, but also it will create more quality jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurship, as well as more room for upward mobility and better incomes. In addition, we must keep up with the times, grasp the trend of economic development and evolution, and continue to add momentum to economic growth. In recent years, we have been investing heavily in innovation and technology, and at the same time promoted the development of cultural, performing arts, sports and other industries in the hope of enhancing the core competitiveness of Hong Kong, and also allow citizens, especially young people, to have a diversified platform to pursue their interests and realise their dreams.
Every city has its own story as well as its own development trajectory. In the past quarter century Hong Kong has seen ups and downs in its development path. By staying close to our motherland, and with the care and strong support from the Central Government, even through the wind and the rain, every time Hong Kong has recovered swiftly and continued to grow vigorously, and Hong Kong people have all along been pragmatic, flexible and hard working. Today, Hong Kong is at a new starting point for putting the "One Country, Two Systems" arrangement into practice and at the beginning of an era of golden opportunities. We can better leverage the clear positioning provided by the 14th Five-Year Plan and make great efforts in the development of the eight traditional and emerging sectors. By using the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as an entry point, Hong Kong can proactively integrate into national development, give full play to our unique role in the dual circulation development strategy of our country, and work hard to continuously improve our own competitiveness. In this way, we can use our strengths to serve the needs of the country and achieve sustainable and prosperous development.
At the same time, regarding the various livelihood issues that citizens are most concerned about, we must do more and deliver actual results. Among these, the problem of land and housing is a pain point that has been troubling Hong Kong society for a long time. In the coming five years, with an innovative mindset, firm determination, and a fighting spirit, we will make every effort to work with all sectors to speed up the resolution of this problem.
President Xi Jinping will attend a meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term government of the HKSAR. This shows the great importance that President Xi attaches to Hong Kong's development and his heartwarming care to Hong Kong people. It also reflects the Central Government's firm recognition to the results achieved by the "One Country, Two Systems" arrangement and their full support to Hong Kong's progress towards governance and prosperity. All these could strengthen our confidence and forge people's consensus on stability and development. It is encouraging that President Xi's attendance will add more meanings to the celebrating activities this year.
Over the past two years, the Central Government decisively enacted the Hong Kong National Security Law and improved Hong Kong's electoral system to implement the "patriots administering Hong Kong" principle, providing the most steady direction for Hong Kong's good governance. Hong Kong has entered a new chapter of governance and prosperity. Let us join hands to make Hong Kong a better home for everyone's wellbeing.