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Key takeaways of HKSAR chief executive’s 2020 policy address

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Chief Executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam delivered the 2020 policy address Wednesday. Here are several key messages:

— The central authorities will fully support Hong Kong’s development in seven aspects, namely promoting the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), consolidating and enhancing Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center and international aviation hub, and developing Hong Kong into an international innovation and technology hub, improving the infrastructure of land boundary control points between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, facilitating Hong Kong enterprises to tap the mainland domestic market, and fighting against the COVID-19 epidemic.

Pedestrians wearing face masks wait to cross a road in Hung Hom, Hong Kong, China, Nov. 21, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

Pedestrians wearing face masks wait to cross a road in Hung Hom, Hong Kong, China, Nov. 21, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

Pedestrians wearing face masks wait to cross a road in Hung Hom, Hong Kong, China, Nov. 21, 2020.

(Xinhua/Wang Shen)

— Over the past four months or so, the national security law in Hong Kong has been remarkably effective in restoring stability in Hong Kong: advocacies of “Hong Kong independence” and collusions with external forces have progressively subsided; some of the prominent figures have kept a low profile; radical organizations have ceased operation or dissolved; those who are suspected of violating the law have absconded; and street violence is significantly on the decline.

— In view of the unstable situation of the COVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong, it is essential to take all necessary measures to strengthen epidemic control to achieve “zero infection,” even implementing a large-scale universal community testing again.

— The HKSAR government forecasts the economy to contract by 6.1 percent in 2020.

— To bring continuous impetus to its economy, Hong Kong can focus on the business opportunities in the mainland market, better integrate into the overall development of the country, take the GBA development as an entry point, and proactively become a “participant” in domestic circulation and a “facilitator” in international circulation.

— Hong Kong’s insurance industry will be supported to establish after-sales service centers in the mainland cities of the GBA under the framework of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).

A truck enters the Liantang Port/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen boundary in China, Aug. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

A truck enters the Liantang Port/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen boundary in China, Aug. 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

A truck enters the Liantang Port/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen boundary in China, Aug. 26, 2020.

(Xinhua/Li Gang)

— The HKSAR government has identified 330 hectares of land to meet the demand for about 301,000 public housing units in the coming 10 years.

— Recurrent government expenditures on social welfare and healthcare have registered an average annual increase of 12.9 percent and 11.6 percent respectively from 2017-2018 to 2020-2021.

— The 5G coverage of major mobile network operators is expected to reach 90 percent of the population this year.

— The HKSAR government will launch the Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme to encourage enterprises with operation in both Hong Kong and the GBA to recruit and deploy 2,000 local university graduates to work in the mainland cities of the GBA.

— To render better entrepreneurial support and incubation services to Hong Kong young people who intend to start their businesses in Hong Kong and the mainland cities of the GBA, about 100 million Hong Kong dollars will be provided for nearly 200 youth start-ups and supporting services to about 4,000 young people. ■

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