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Financial Secretary


Striving Ahead and Embarking on a New Journey

Today is a day of joy and celebration for the whole country as it marks the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. I take this opportunity to wish our country continued peace and prosperity for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. I attended the National Day flag-raising ceremony and reception organised by the SAR Government this morning, and will be joining celebration events held in the community later to celebrate this special day with members of the public. At night, the National Day Fireworks Display which we missed for the past few years will return to Victoria Harbour to light up the sky and bring a happy and enjoyable evening for Hong Kong.

Attending the National Day flag-raising ceremony and reception organised by the SAR Government in celebration of the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

It is indeed a day of double happiness as we celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day. To celebrate this special occasion, I invited a group of children and their parents from grassroots families for a gathering yesterday where there were ample supply of tasty marshmallows and popcorns and interesting games to play. It was a delightful afternoon as we also sat together and had a little chat. While the children talked about their funny stories and their hopes for the future, I shared my childhood memories as well as the future development and opportunities for Hong Kong, in particular the brighter future of the city under the development of our country. Particularly, as our country has gone through an exceptional path of development and is now embarking on a new journey.

I invited a group of children and their parents from grassroots families yesterday for a gathering to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, our country under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, has eradicated absolute poverty and built a moderately prosperous society with the resilience and hard work of the whole nation. This is a thrilling and spectacular feat which has won recognition worldwide. Our country, remaining steadfast in the process of opening up, has been one of the key drivers of global economic growth over the past decade or so. While striving for a robust growth in its economy, our country also looks for every opportunity to cooperate with trading partners for mutual development and prosperity, making significant contributions to the stable development of the global economy.

Our country is pursuing Chinese-style modernisation through high-quality development, with the economy as a whole growing steadily. At a time when the world and the international environment are undergoing unprecedented and accelerated changes in a century, it is inevitable that our country will encounter risks and challenges along its journey of development. However, thanks to a large and a highly resilient and vibrant economy, the strong leadership of the Central Government that is responsive to changes, as well as its hardworking, diligent and innovative people, the fundamentals underlying China’s long-term economic growth remain unchanged.

On this new journey of building a strong China and rejuvenating the Chinese nation, Hong Kong is embracing fresh and greater opportunities. The institutional advantages under “One Country, Two Systems” enable us to better perform our distinctive roles and functions, with the backing of our country while being closely connected to the world. We must integrate into the national development more actively, align ourselves better with the national development strategies and commit fully to the building of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and the pursuit of high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative, so as to continue serving our country’s needs with our strengths. Under this complex and volatile international environment, Hong Kong can be a more proactive connector between the Mainland and the international community in such areas as finance, innovation and technology, trade and commerce, culture as well as community exchanges.

The nine-day visit to Europe earlier has allowed me to look further into our capacity of taking a more active role as a connector. I visited Paris, London, Berlin and Frankfurt during this trip, with a view to fostering and enhancing business exchanges and cooperation. The pandemic over the past few years not only put a stop to mutual visits, but also barred the opportunities of meeting in person. Coupled with heightened geopolitical tensions, there have been some biased reports on Hong Kong among the Western media in the past few years, with the European business sector and the community having some misconceptions about Hong Kong. Apart from providing a good opportunity for us to update by ourselves the latest situation of Hong Kong and introduce the development opportunities in Hong Kong and the GBA, especially in the innovation and technology and the creative and cultural industries, this trip also allowed us to expand our international network. In fact, face-to-face interactions, direct response to enquiries and giving explanations patiently with facts and data enable us to better understand each other’s position and help build mutual trust.

Under a slackened global economic atmosphere, Western financial and business sectors are showing a greater interest in looking for opportunities in Asia and the Mainland, in particular the GBA. Many of my overseas friends I met during this trip shared the view that a fragmented world would only bring additional uncertainties and slow global economic recovery. No one would benefit.

Amid the increasingly polarised international landscape, the unique role and functions of Hong Kong as a super-connector under “One Country, Two System” can come into fuller play at this opportune time. Not only do we have a close bond with our motherland, we are also well-versed in the economic and market conditions in the Mainland. In addition, we enjoy smooth connectivity with the international market and free flow of different factors of production under “Two Systems”, and our deep understanding of the western culture and mentality serves to facilitate communication and exchanges.

This two-way communication and exchanges needs to be maintained on a multi-dimensional and multi-level basis. During this trip to Europe, I specifically visited some local cultural institutions, including the Royal College of Art of the United Kingdom and Maison et Objet of France, with a view to further promoting cultural ties and exchanges between Hong Kong and these countries. By leveraging the convergence of the Chinese and Western cultures and a deep pool of diversified talents, Hong Kong should be playing a more active role as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchanges under the 14th Five-Year Plan. We will support our country in showcasing the soft power of the Chinese culture.

Seeing is believing. Apart from going out to promote Hong Kong, I also made good use of the trip to invite many friends from overseas to Hong Kong to see for themselves the latest developments of the city and meet with our business and industrial sectors and the like to explore development opportunities in the city and our country. In the coming six months, a series of major international conferences and mega events will be hosted in Hong Kong, including the Fintech Week, the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit, the inaugural Summit of the Future Investment Initiative Institute of Saudi Arabia in Asia, the Asian Financial Forum, as well as the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival and Art Basel. Together, they will bring a stream of business travellers and tourists to the city.

Today, as we celebrate the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, let us join the whole nation in wishing the motherland a more prosperous and thriving future, and contribute to the building of a great China and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

October 1, 2023

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