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Friday, May 20, 2016, 09:38

Zhang calls on HK to focus on economy

By Shadow Li
Zhang calls on HK to focus on economy
The nation’s top legislator Zhang Dejiang waves before leaving Hong Kong after a three-day inspection trip to the SAR at Hong Kong International Airport on Thursday. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

Top legislator Zhang Dejiang has highlighted Hong Kong’s economic and social progress during his threeday inspection tour, and called on the SAR to concentrate further on economic development, in his closing speech on Thursday to more than 200 leaders from various sectors on the last day of his visit.

Zhang, who concluded the tour on Thursday, said the central government has paid great attention to Hong Kong’s economic and social development as well as to improvements in people’s livelihoods.

Hong Kong was wellknown because of its economic status — which decides its position in the world, explained Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

He said Hong Kong has made outstanding economic achievements because it has strong backing from the mainland — a market with a population of 1.37 billion.

Zhang said this makes Hong Kong a window for the mainland’s liberalization and a main source for the mainland to attract foreign investment. It is also a connector to reach out to the world, as well as a platform on which its finance and service industries can thrive, he said.

Zhang Dejiang, the first State leader to visit the city since 2012, made the remarks at a meeting with more than 200 local political heavyweights and business elites at Hong Kong government headquarters in Admiralty before he went on to visit a nursing home and a public housing estate under construction.

Zhang advised Hong Kong to maintain its advantages and continue to develop its economy amid tough times internationally.

“Hong Kong’s existing advantages are weakening and its new growth points have not formed yet, thus Hong Kong should pull together to concentrate on developing the economy,” Zhang added.

He also urged society to support Chief Executive Leung Chunying and his administration. Zhang noted that the CE is crucial in maintaining Hong Kong’s stability, rule of law, economic development and improving people’s livelihoods.

The visiting State leader also warned that everyone would pay a price if Hong Kong degenerated into chaos.

The past 19 years proved “One Country, Two Systems” is correct and workable, he noted.

Zhang said that for the interest of the nation, Hong Kong and its 7.3 million residents, “we have to uphold the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle and stick to the Basic Law”.

Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yoksing, in an article published in a local newspaper on Thursday, described Zhang’s visit as inspiring because it reaffirms the central government’s confidence in Hong Kong’s future and “One Country, Two Systems”.

Tsang believes that the confidence derives from the fact that the central government knows well about Hong Kong’s real situation and the issues it is facing.

Chairwoman of the New People’s Party Regina Ip Lau Sukyee called Zhang’s remarks “unprecedented and meaningful”, because they reaffirm the central government’s firm stance on “One Country, Two Systems” and show that Hong Kong will not become just another mainland city.

She said this is a message aimed at promoting harmony, and warned that attempts to achieve “selfdetermination” for Hong Kong would only drive away investors.

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