politics

Central govt fully recognizes HK chief Lam’s work: Chinese vice premier

▲Hong Kong: VCG

China’s central government firmly supports Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and fully recognizes her efforts in leading the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to overcome various difficulties this year, Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng said Friday while meeting Lam in Beijing. Han noted that he hopes that Hong Kong will grasp opportunities from the overall development of the country. 

The central government fully recognizes that Lam led Hong Kong to overcome various difficulties this year, including controlling the COVID-19 epidemic, reviving the economy, implementing the national security law for Hong Kong and maintaining overall stability. Her efforts have yielded remarkable results, Han said.

Han said he found that there was some good news about Lam’s communication with various ministries during her Beijing visit, and the central government and other government departments will give their full support to anything that contributes to Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability, improves the livelihood of the Hong Kong people, and helps Hong Kong integrate into the overall development of the country and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. 

He hoped that Hong Kong could grasp the opportunities from the overall development of the country in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period and find a better position to develop Hong Kong even better.

Lam expressed deep appreciation for the central government’s support of Hong Kong.

Senior officials from the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the liaison office of the central government in Hong Kong also joined the meeting. 

Lam is on a three-day visit to Beijing, and she will depart for Guangzhou on Friday evening to meet leaders of Guangdong Province, before visiting Shenzhen the next day to discuss how to move forward with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development and Hong Kong-Shenzhen cooperation.

Almost exactly one year ago, Han,who is also the head of the Central Coordination Group for Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, met Lam in Beijing for the first time in five months after social unrest began in June 2019. 

Last year’s meeting was amid festering social unrest that saw rioters vandalize shops, set fires on public transportation, attack ordinary residents and police officers, and rumors that Beijing has plans to replace Lam.

Han said in the last year’s meeting with Lam that the central government fully acknowledged and supported the work of the Hong Kong government and police force.

Stopping violence, curbing chaos and restoring order were the most important tasks for Hong Kong, Han said. 

A month later, in December 2019, President Xi Jinping met Lam in Beijing, stressing the central government’s support for Lam in governing Hong Kong in accordance with the law and the Hong Kong police in a strict manner. 

A major difference between the meeting last year and this year was that Hong Kong’s main target has turned from maintaining stability to promoting economic development, Tian Feilong, a Hong Kong affairs expert at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times. 

The central government highlighted its support in maintaining Hong Kong’s stability last year, but this year it extended its support to Hong Kong’s economic development, as Hong Kong’s stability has been secured with the implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong, Tian said.

Hong Kong’s economy has been greatly rattled by social unrest, in addition to the pandemic and also US sanctions over the national security law for Hong Kong, but its driving force is to be integrated into the overall national strategy, showing a clear path for the central government to lead Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” principle, Tian said.

For Hong Kong, the key to seizing the new round of development opportunities lies in quickly repairing its internal cracks and reaching a consensus among society in strongly participating in the development of the country, Tian said.

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