Antony K Leung, a former financial secretary of Hong Kong, delivers a speech in Beijing on Thursday, March 16, 2017. [Photo by Zhang Lulu/China.org.cn]
Antony K Leung, a former financial secretary of Hong Kong, said on Thursday in Beijing that the next chief executive of the Special Administrative Region (SAR), who is going to be elected in 10 days, needs to focus on economic growth and improving people’s well-being rather than underscoring politics.
Leung made the remarks during a seminar held by Beijing-based think tank, Center for China and Globalization, which he sits as the vice-chairman.
“I hope the next SAR government can focus on economic development and the improvement of people’s well-being, because the past five years have all been talks about politics and universal suffrage, while the economy and citizens’ well-being have failed to be addressed,” Leung said.
Hong Kong was plunged into chaos in 2014 when what’s called the Occupy Central movement took place there.
Leung, who was Hong Kong’s financial secretary from 2001 to 2003, said the city’s next chief executive needs to have better communication with Hong Kong citizens, convincing them that the Chinese central government means good for them.
He said he believes that the central government wants to continue with the “One Country, Two Systems” policy in Hong Kong, favoring Hong Kong without imposing the mainland’s political system on the city. Under the policy, Hong Kong, a former British colony, maintains its capitalist system and enjoys much autonomy.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China. In the joint statement issued by China and Britain in 1984, China pledged that Hong Kong’s “previous capitalist system and life-style” remain unchanged for 50 years after its return. Leung said that the following decade is critical as it will decide where the city is heading for the next 30 years to come.
He said Hong Kong, especially its young people, has been faced with three problems, namely, unaffordable housing, fewer opportunities for social mobility and inadequate involvement in policy-making.
He suggested the next SAR government increase public housing, continue building on its existing advantages while working more closely with the Chinese mainland in addition to involving more young people into the city’s policy-making.