Hong Kong is urged to realize that it has fallen behind its neighbors. The city should take proactive measures as more opportunities emerge from national strategies such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office Chen Zuo’er said on Sunday Hong Kong should face up to its deeply rooted challenges and solve them to ensure the city’s steady and vigorous development.
If we don’t have the courage to learn from bitter experience, how can we expect Hong Kong to catch up and rise with great vigor
former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office
In a media interview, he said it’s not easy to own up to the reality that Hong Kong has fallen behind its neighbors. Without the courage to face the situation and learn the lessons from the problems and failures, he doubts there’ll be any hope of the city catching up and staying ahead of the competition.
Chen, also who retired from the chairmanship of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies in February, noted that Singapore had surpassed Hong Kong in 2010 when the Lion City’s per capita GDP reached US$55,000, while Hong Kong still lingered at around US$42,000. But Hong Kong’s GDP almost doubled that of Singapore in 2001.
“If we don’t have the courage to learn from bitter experience, how can we expect Hong Kong to catch up and rise with great vigor?” he asked.
Chen stressed that the past two decades have shown that “One Country, Two Systems” is the best arrangement to achieve Hong Kong’s peaceful reunification with the motherland and to maintain the SAR's long-term prosperity.
“One Country, Two Systems” is an unprecedented policy that has received world-wide recognition, he said.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said recently it’s normal to encounter emerging issues in implementing “One Country, Two Systems”. To ensure the principle is comprehensively and faithfully adhered to in Hong Kong without any distortion, the key lies in strictly following the Basic Law, he stressed.
Looking back at the past two decades, “One Country, Two Systems” and the Hong Kong SAR’s Basic Law haven’t changed. What has changed is Hong Kong’s economy and society, he continued.
Hong Kong should take proactive measures to adapt to its evolving role against the backdrop of the nation’s rapid development, Leung said.
To cope with the nation’s needs in different times, Hong Kong has managed to reinvent itself to play different roles, being the “super-connector” between the country and the outside world, and aspiring to make greater contributions to national development, such as becoming a creative and innovation hub.
Hong Kong has attracted many international top-tier research facilities and innovative organizations that want to reap the benefits of the “Two Systems” aspect, and have set up offices here in the past five years, said Leung.
Hong Kong enjoys dual advantages from “One Country, Two Systems” in terms of its access to and close links with the mainland market, and a competitive, free economy that has thrived in business, trade, commerce and services with global partners.
Hong Kong can make further contributions to the nation while seeking brighter prospects for the city itself, Leung said.
He envisioned that more opportunities will unfold for Hong Kong as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area gain momentum.
Leung said the SAR’s strengths, including financial, trading and professional services, highly complement those of other cities in the Greater Bay Area project.