Guests have a discussion during the Hong Kong Ta Kung Wen Wei Media Group's summit on the 40th anniversary of the nation's reform and opening-up at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday. (Roy Liu/China Daily)
HONG KONG - Forty years after the country’s historic reform and opening-up, Hong Kong must reform itself in regard to policies, its mindset and efficiency in administration and legislation to face future challenges, city leaders said on Friday.
Prominent people in finance, business and politics met at a local forum to discuss Hong Kong’s role in the country’s 40 years of development.
Annie Wu Suk-ching, a Hong Kong businesswoman who founded the mainland’s first joint venture company, Beijing Air Catering in 1980, said the development of Hong Kong often involved “wrangling on odds and ends”.
Although Hong Kong led the world in terms of law and order and a sustainably developed economy, Wu criticized its people. She said they “don’t cherish the favorable social environment they enjoy”.
She said one of the most controversial issues was the inefficiency of the city’s legislature - hindered by endless political wrangling.
Wu is a former member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee - the country’s top political advisory body. She warned that neighboring mainland cities, much less developed than Hong Kong, were now rapidly catching up.
“In three years, it will be Hong Kong providing services to Shenzhen (instead of Shenzhen serving as an economic hinterland for Hong Kong),” she warned. Thus people should broaden their vision and seek opportunities by adapting to new situations.
Stanley Ng Chau-pei, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature, shared Wu’s views. Hong Kong was complacent because of its past achievements and sometimes reluctant to change, Ng said. This was a common problem for both the government and the people, he added.
People must open up their mind like the mainland did in the last 40 years, to embrace future challenges, Ng urged.
Ng, also president of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, the city’s largest labor group, said the government should encourage Hong Kong people to have more exchanges with the mainland.
Ceajer Chan Ka-keung, Hong Kong’s former secretary for financial services and the treasury, agreed with Ng. He said the government should reform its governance style and be more determined.
Citing the recent public debate on land shortage as an example, Chan said the government needs to be bolder in introducing new policies. It should avoid having endless public discussions without reaching a consensus.
Hong Kong industrialist Dennis Ng Wang-pun, president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, echoed Chan’s views.
Dennis Ng, who founded Polaris Jewellery in 1980 and opened many factories on the mainland, said even though there were many opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong faced an increasing number of mainland business competitors.
He said the government should therefore be proactive in uniting society on economic development and avoiding disputes.