HK must act now or be left behind, says Beijing liaison office chief

Liaison office chief Luo Huining made the point that China has started on its second centennial journey. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG - The chief of Beijing's liaison office has sounded a stark warning as he outlined the city's "new chapter", saying Hong Kong needs to not only understand China's new vision but also make advancements or be obsolete.

At a seminar outlining China's 14th five-year plan, liaison office chief Luo Huining on Monday (Aug 23) made the point that China has started on its second centennial journey, and Hong Kong, whose development has entered a new era, must act now in tandem with the mainland.

"Hong Kong must have a thorough understanding of the new development concept of the country so that we can build a new and comprehensive development pattern," Mr Luo told key stakeholders in the city, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

He added that the rejuvenation of China is a trend that cannot be stopped, so Hong Kong needs to better integrate with the mainland and seize opportunities it offers.

Mr Luo noted that the national blueprint sets out a new position for the territory to improve livelihoods and provides the policy support for the city to do so.

"It is time for Hong Kong to take action. Competition is king. We will be phased out if we don't move forward," warned Mr Luo.

Top Chinese officials on Hong Kong affairs are in the city until Wednesday to share Beijing's plans for the territory.

The 14th five-year plan was given the green light in March by Beijing and it outlines strategies to further Hong Kong's development, including deepening the access of financial markets and expediting the Shenzhen-Hong Kong innovation and technology zone.

Also speaking at the seminar was deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Huang Liuzhuan, who noted that China's dream of rejuvenating the nation included Hong Kong.

He said the central government will use special economic zones such as Qianhai and Hengqin as the base to roll out more measures to benefit the people of Hong Kong.

Mr Huang praised Mrs Lam's leadership, noting that the Hong Kong government has fiercely upheld its constitutional duty to safeguard national security, as well as displayed determination in fighting the pandemic.

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