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Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urges Hong Kong to meet needs of nation, local residents

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urges Hong Kong to meet needs of nation, local residents

Premier Li Keqiang says ‘fate of Hong Kong and China linked together’, as he calls for further expansion of city’s technology, finance industries.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has urged Hong Kong to meet the country’s needs and further integrate into its national development plan while improving the well-being of local residents, as he also acknowledged the city leader’s hard work in resolving deep-seated problems.

Meeting Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Thursday at the Chinese government’s headquarters, the Zhongnanhai compound, the state leader said central authorities there would continue to support Hong Kong’s administration in implementing the “one country, two systems” governing principle in accordance with the law and to protect the city’s prosperity and stability.

“[We will support the administration in] implementing Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, comprehensively implementing the central government’s jurisdiction over Hong Kong, as well as ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’,” he said.


Premier Li Keqiang.

Li, the first senior official to meet Lee during the second day of his maiden duty visit to Beijing, also laid out his expectations for Hong Kong during the exchange.

“The fate of Hong Kong and the nation are linked together. I hope the Hong Kong government will be united and lead the vast majority of residents to meet the needs of the country and integrate into the overall development of the country and give full play to the unique advantages of the city,” the premier said.

He added that Hong Kong must continue to consolidate its status as an international financial, trading and shipping hub, as well as develop itself as a global technology centre.

Li urged Hong Kong to bring prosperity to residents by further “expanding the high-level openness” of the city’s economy, referring to industries such as finance and technology, amid backing from mainland China while on the world stage.

The state leader also took time during the meeting to praise Lee for his achievements over the past six months.

“In the half year since you took office, you have been leading the government in actively responding to society’s concerns, making efforts to reboot economic vibrancy … and to resolve deep-seated problems,” he told Lee.

“The central government fully acknowledges your work.”

The chief executive, who was joined by Luo Huining, director of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong, thanked Li for his words of encouragement and acknowledged the responsibilities placed upon himself since taking office.

“My team and I share the same ambition and we are all pragmatic. We are result-oriented and will focus on developing the economy and improving people’s livelihoods,” Lee said.

Chief Executive John Lee is in Beijing for a duty visit.


Hong Kong’s leader is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday to deliver a six-month work report before returning home the next day.

Political analyst Lau Siu-kai, of semi-official think tank the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said Li’s remarks showed that Beijing was keen to work with the Hong Kong government on economic reforms and countering foreign economic attacks.

“Internally, Hong Kong is now facing economic challenges, and externally, there is an adverse political and economic environment,” he said. “Beijing has to urge the city’s government to speed up its integration with the mainland.”

The central government also expected Hong Kong to support the country’s international economic cooperation in the Eurasian continent, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, Lau added.

“Hong Kong, as an international financial, legal services and arbitration centre, can promote China’s Eurasian economic integration, and reduce the nation’s dependence on the United States and other Western countries,” he said.

Professor Song Sio-chong, a political analyst at Shenzhen University, said the exchange reflected Beijing’s hopes that Hong Kong could fast track the development of its technology sector, as well as resolve other key issues.

“The central government is also concerned about whether Hong Kong people are happy. The city’s land and housing shortage affect people’s happiness, and it can be resolved through land reclamation, but the government must also remain prudent in public finance.”

Alongside Luo, other top mainland officials who attended the meeting included Vice-Premier Han Zheng and Xia Baolong, director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

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