I would like to start with wishing you and your loved ones good health and happiness. In the past two years, people around the world have experienced waves of Covid-19 pandemic, making life more than unusual for the world. World leaders have been struggling to open the border to let people live and travel freely and to revive the economy, or to continue the restrictions for upholding public health. On the one hand, we could appreciate more time spent with our family for staying, working and studying at home. On the other, we should be more considerate and offer our help to those who lost their jobs, health or even friends and relatives. New opportunities came along with all these changes and technology disruption but more adaptation is needed from all of us. Another challenge that we are facing is climate change. The mounting disasters caused by extreme weather give pressure to countries to tackle it with joint effort. The risk of cold war or decoupling thinking will only be harmful to all problems that lie ahead. Global collaboration should be the answer, even with different ideologies. As Chinese idiom says, “Gentlemen seek harmony but not uniformity”.
Year 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the Motherland. The implementation of the National Security Law in 2020 and the improvement of the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“HKSAR”) in 2021 helped restore Hong Kong’s stability, which is beneficial to our social, political and economic development. With the advantage of “One Country Two Systems”, Hong Kong is positioned to be the hub of the Greater Bay Area (“GBA”) in eight areas, under the 14th Five-Year Plan of the nation: international financial center; international transportation center; international trade center; international legal, deal-making and dispute resolution hub in the Asia-Pacific; international aviation hub; international I&T hub; East-meets-West center for international cultural exchange, and regional intellectual property trading center. We shall look forward and move fast to embrace the huge potential in the GBA.
Over the past one hundred years, China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in many aspects. Over 850 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty, and 400 million people are now classified as middle-income earners. China is now the world’s second largest economy, and the largest manufacturing country and commodity trading nation. China has also built the world’s longest high-speed rail network as well as the largest highway network. Now, the country is marching towards its second centenary goal of becoming a great modern country. Hong Kong is proud to progress with our country by contributing our strengths.
Be Adaptive and Prepare for a New Chapter
The Better Hong Kong Foundation (“the Foundation”) spares no efforts on facilitating ideas exchange and promoting collaborations with different counterparts. In 2021, we organized virtual and physical meetings where prominent speakers in economic, political, academia and media fields shared their wisdom and insights with our members. In July, we were honored to have invited Mr. Leung Chun-ying, Vice Chairman of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (“CPPCC”) and Former Chief Executive of the HKSAR, to share his views on Hong Kong after the implementation of National Security Law and the new election methods. In May and in October, Mr. Chris Tang, the then Commissioner of Police and currently the Secretary for Security, spoke to us on leadership and risk management during the 2019 social unrest and challenges ahead. On the economic front, Mr. Eddie Yue, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority in March and Mr. Nicolas Aguzin, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd in August shared with us their thoughts on the market and their plans in response to the fast-changing global economic environment, especially under impact of the pandemic. In April, the Foundation’s Executive Committee Chairman Mr. Ronnie Chan shared his insights with members on the China-U.S. relations amidst the growing tension between the two great powers.
When Hong Kong is preparing to strive further, it is important that we could learn from the past. In August, we invited Mr. Shiu Sin-por, former Head of the Central Policy Unit of the HKSAR Government and Executive Director of the New Paradigm Foundation, to comment on governance of Hong Kong during British colonial rule. In November, Prof. Li Pang-kwong, Professor of Practice of Department of Political Science at Lingnan University, further gave us his insightful review from the British declassified files, on British strategy of governance and planning before the handover of Hong Kong to China. In June, Mr. Lo Wing-hung, Publisher and Chief Curator of the Bastille Post talked to us the political environment and media ecology during and after the social unrest in 2019.
Every changes of policies and moves of China catch the world’s attention, not to mention its huge influence to Hong Kong. In November, Dr. Shan Weijian, Chairman and CEO of PAG, was invited to share his interpretation on the recent polices introduction and its impact on economic and social developments in Mainland China. The national 14th Five-Year Plan maps out the country’s social and economic development plan for 2021 – 2025. In June, the Foundation, the CPPCC Shanghai Committee, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and the Hong Kong Coalition jointly organized the annual Shanghai-Hong Kong Cooperation and Development Forum where in-depth discussions on how the two places could leverage the numerous opportunities arising from the 14th Five-Year Plan. Over a hundred of participants attended the physical meeting in Shanghai while around 200 participants from Hong Kong joined the forum virtually.
Inject New Powers
This year, we are pleased to welcome six new Council Members who share the Foundation’s vision on building a better Hong Kong. They are Mr. Paul Tai, Regional Director of Mainetti (HK) Ltd, Ms. Catherine Leung, Co-Founder & Partner of MizMaa Ventures Ltd, Mr. Stanley Sun, CEO of China-Hongkong Photo Products Holdings Ltd, Mr. Albert Chuang, Chairman & Managing Director of Chuang’s Consortium International Ltd, and Ms. Lesley Kwok and Mr. Jonathan Kwok, both are Directors of Empire Group Holdings Ltd. While the globe is overwhelmed with misleading or false information and mistrust, the Foundation hopes to cultivate the spirit of openness and trust through sincere communication among people, across borders and boundaries. I hope you will join hand with us to make this happen. May I take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to you, to our members and counterparts for your long-term and unfailing support!
The Better Hong Kong Foundation