Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Jun 03, 2023

6 New Year’s resolutions for John Lee as we navigate stormy waters

6 New Year’s resolutions for John Lee as we navigate stormy waters

From the economy, exiting Covid-19 and restoring public finances to healing the 2019 rifts, rebuilding tourism and easing rhetoric against foreign provocations, Hong Kong is counting on Lee for a better new year.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has had a very busy first six months in office during which he has performed pretty well. But alas, there can be no rest for him over Christmas as his 2023 plate already looks quite full, even assuming no unforeseen emergencies. Here are some New Year’s resolutions to help him navigate the stormy waters.

Number one, stay laser-focused on the economy. The government has exciting plans to address our many areas of social need, in particular housing and an ageing population. There are also imaginative proposals for the long-term development of our economy.

These will bring great benefits but also incur considerable costs in the short term. Such matters will be more easily handled by a growing economy whereas ours is in a recession likely to run into early next year. We urgently need a quick turnaround.

Number two, ensure all decisions on Covid-19 control measures are taken in full context, not solely on the requirements of combating a single disease. Protecting public health is an important priority but not the only one.

Other considerations need to be brought to bear, not just of the economy but also community morale and the educational and social development of our children. After three years of stringent social controls, and high levels of immunity achieved by vaccination, more weight should be given to these other factors.

Guarding against possible deaths from Covid-19 needs to be balanced against increases in suicides, particularly among the young, or failure to treat other diseases.

Lee has established a good record of easing up in this area (scrapping quarantine and use of “Leave Home Safe”, for example) but needs to maintain momentum and increase it wherever possible.

Number three, maintain the strength of our public finances. Our historical fiscal surpluses distinguish Hong Kong from governments elsewhere. They had to run up huge debts coping with the pandemic while we drew on our savings.

But the previous chief executive threw money around like a drunken sailor on shore leave (two cash handouts with no accompanying vaccination requirement, lowering the qualifying age for the concessionary HK$2 public transport fare to 60, and so on) in a vain attempt to boost popularity, so the reserves are reduced.

There is bound to be pressure for more relief measures next year but against declining tax revenues. Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po will have a tough time getting the balance right in his next budget and needs the full support of the chief executive and other ministers.

Mischief makers seeking to attack China by undermining Hong Kong from time to time try to break our currency’s peg to the US dollar. They will see any weakness in our management of public finances as an opportunity for more speculation.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po attends the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit in Hong Kong on November 2.

Number four, it is time to draw a line under the social disturbances of 2019. Three years have passed with more than 10,000 arrested, many youngsters, but the cases for some 6,000 remain outstanding. We understand that careful deliberation takes time and operation of the courts was affected by the pandemic, but this situation is simply unacceptable.

It is unsettling for the individuals and their families. It is also disturbing for the wider community. To be reading in the newspapers week after week of people being sent to prison for rioting and other violent offences is to be repeatedly reminded of that unhappy period.

Lee and security minister Chris Tang Ping-keung are uniquely well-qualified to bring the saga to an end as their national security credentials are unchallengeable. Lee should set a deadline of the anniversary of his appointment. If a case is not before the courts by then, it should be dropped.

An imaginative leader could advance the deadline to the Lunar New Year so everyone can celebrate with their families without this dark cloud hanging over. It is time for the healing to begin.

Number five, can we calm the rhetoric a bit when foreign forces provoke us? Repeated mistakes about the national anthem being played at sports events are annoying whether accidental or on purpose. And Google’s response is simply silly.

When people play childish games, we should not be provoked into a disproportionate response. That just reduces us to their level. We are the adults in the room, let’s focus on fixing the problem, which we seem to have done in this case. The correct anthem is now the top result in Google search and our athletes know how to respond if other organisations get it wrong.

Number six, can we give a special push to tourism next year? The sector has been particularly hard-hit with visitor numbers a fraction of that in the glory years. With the best will in the world it will take quite a while to recover.

The Tourism Board is working with the industry to lure back exhibitions, the entertainment sector has revived Clockenflap, and in the sports sector, the Rugby Union is repeating the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens on a more expansive basis.

In addition to providing a hard economic benefit, there are soft gains too. Leisure tourists may see business opportunities or exciting career opportunities. The industry is not sitting back, it is working hard and deserves our support.

Merry Christmas, Mr Lee. We are all looking to you for a better new year.
AI Disclaimer: An advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system generated the content of this page on its own. This innovative technology conducts extensive research from a variety of reliable sources, performs rigorous fact-checking and verification, cleans up and balances biased or manipulated content, and presents a minimal factual summary that is just enough yet essential for you to function as an informed and educated citizen. Please keep in mind, however, that this system is an evolving technology, and as a result, the article may contain accidental inaccuracies or errors. We urge you to help us improve our site by reporting any inaccuracies you find using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page. Your helpful feedback helps us improve our system and deliver more precise content. When you find an article of interest here, please look for the full and extensive coverage of this topic in traditional news sources, as they are written by professional journalists that we try to support, not replace. We appreciate your understanding and assistance.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
The driver has been described by authorities as a 21-year-old woman from Tallahassee
Joe Biden falls at the Air Force Graduation
America's Got Talent…
Elon Musk has been showered with praise by the Chinese public during his trip to China
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
Drone Attack on Moscow's Wealthiest Neighborhoods Suspected to be Launched by Ukraine
Elon Musk Meets Chinese Finance Minister in Beijing
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
Chinese fighter jet buzzes U.S. Air Force spy plane over South China Sea
Prominent Hacker Forum RaidForums Suffers Substantial Data Breach
Nvidia CEO Huang says firms, individuals without AI expertise will be left behind
WPP Revolutionizes Advertising with NVIDIA's AI Powerhouse
Two US Employees Fired For Chasing Robbers Out Of Store As They Broke ''Company Policy''
Pfizer, the EU, and disappearing ink - Smoke, Mirrors, and the Billion-Dose Pfizer Vaccine Deal: EU's 'Open Secret
The Sussexes' Royal Rebound: Could Harry and Meghan Markle Return to the UK?
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
Neuralink Receives FDA Approval for First-in-Human Clinical Study
Ukrainian Intelligence Official Admits to Assassination Attempts on Putin
WATCH THIS: democracy in Russia is so bad!
Ed Davey: It is possible for a woman to have a penis
Bernard Arnault Loses $11.2 Billion in One Day as Investors Fear Slowdown in US Growth Will Reduce Demand for Luxury Products
Russian’s Wagner Group leader: “I am not a chef, I am a butcher. Russia is in danger of a revolution like in 1917.”
TikTok Sues Montana Over Law Banning the App
Ron DeSantis Jumps Into 2024 Presidential Race, Setting Up Showdown With Trump
Steve Jobs introducing Apple's iPhone, exactly 16 years ago.
Banking Behemoth vs Ex-Boss: The PMorgan-Epstein Entanglement
China overtakes Japan as world's top car exporter
Talks between US House Republicans and President Biden's Democratic administration on raising the federal government's $31.4tn debt ceiling have paused
Biden Administration Eyeing High-Profile Visits to China: The Biden Administration is heating things up by looking into setting up a series of top-level visits to Beijing by top officials in the coming months
New evidence in special counsel probe may undercut Trump’s claim documents he took were automatically declassified
A French court of appeals confirmed former President Nicolas Sarkozy's three-year jail term for corruption and influence peddling
Debt Ceiling Crises Have Unleashed Political Chaos
Weibao Wang, a former software engineer at Apple, was charged with stealing trade secrets related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars
Mobile phone giant Vodafone to cut 11,000 jobs globally over three years as new boss says its performance not good enough
Elon Musk compares George Soros to Magneto, the supervillain from the Marvel Comics series.
Warren Buffett Sells TSMC Shares Over Concerns About Taiwan's Stability
New Study Finds That Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia Is a Major Cause of Death in COVID-19 Patients Who Require Ventilator Assistance
The official tapes of Trump's deposition in the E. Jean Carroll battery (rape) and defamation case have been released.
King Charles III being crowned.
Newly released video of Donald Trump’s rape trial deposition:
Video: Ukraine MP Punches Russian Representative At Global Meet
El Paso mayor has declared a state of emergency
Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones in an attempt to kill Putin
Dutch court orders man who fathered 550 kids to stop donating sperm
Kim Kardashian Lookalike Christina Ashten Dies Of Cardiac Arrest, Hours After Plastic Surgery
Samsung has banned employees from using generative AI services such as ChatGPT
'Godfather Of AI' Geoffrey Hinton Quits Google To Warn Of The Tech's Dangers
A Real woman
Vermont Man Charged with Stalking After Secretly Tracking Woman with Apple AirTag
Elon Musk Statements About Tesla Autopilot Could Be 'Deepfakes,' Lawyers Claim. Judge Evette Pennypacker Does Not Understand How Far and Advanced This Technology Became