Lam right to postpone policy address
China Daily

Photo: Agencies

With Hong Kong's economy and employment situation now in their worst shape in more than a decade, having suffered the triple whammy of the Sino-US trade row, the yearlong violent activities of the opposition camp, and the nine-month-long battle against the novel coronavirus, the special administrative region government is hard pressed to find a way out of the current predicament.

It is against this backdrop that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Monday announced the postponement of her next Policy Address to allow her time to secure and include support measures from the central government in her policy blueprint.

She said that the SAR government has a series of proposals for the consideration of the central government. But as the proposals cover a wide range of fields, no single ministry can make a decision and she will pay a visit to Beijing and participate in co-ordinating meetings with the relevant ministries.

Hong Kong's tourism, one of the local economy's four pillar industries, has been particularly hard hit with hospitality, catering, transportation and retailing all suffering job losses.

Given that the Chinese mainland is Hong Kong's largest source of visitors, accounting for nearly 80 percent of total visitor arrivals before the pandemic hit, the SAR can in no way rejuvenate its tourism sector and create the jobs desperately needed without the reopening of cross-boundary travel between the two sides.

Because of this, it is anticipated that as the first step, Lam will discuss with mainland officials the implementation of a health code system that allows cross-boundary travel between the two sides when she visits Shenzhen on Wednesday to attend events marking the city's 40th anniversary as one of China's first special economic zones.

She is also expected to explore other initiatives to help shore up Hong Kong's economy by enhancing the cooperation between the two sides and through the further integration of the SAR's economic development into the national development strategy, especially through coordination with Shenzhen as part of the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

At a time when geopolitics are raging, with anti-China Washington politicians considering damaging the SAR economy a means to undermine China as a whole, and Hong Kong sanctioned for fulfilling its constitutional obligation to safeguard national security by promulgating and implementing a national security law, the SAR government only has the central government to count on for help in its efforts to revive the economy.