Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Thursday, Feb 09, 2023

Hong Kong lawmaker behind John Lee’s election platform to helm new policy unit

Hong Kong lawmaker behind John Lee’s election platform to helm new policy unit

Stephen Wong, 48, to lead Chief Executive’s Policy Unit starting Wednesday.

A Hong Kong lawmaker responsible for writing Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu’s election platform has been appointed as the head of a newly formed official think tank, with expectations to help the city integrate into national development plans while also avoiding international relations risks.

The government on Tuesday announced that Stephen Wong Yuen-shan, 48, would take the helm at the Chief Executive’s Policy Unit (CEPU) starting on Wednesday.


Stephen Wong (left) with Chief Executive John Lee.

The think tank, responsible for conducting research on policies and public sentiment, is among the incumbent government’s flagship plans. It is modelled on the Central Policy Unit which was turned into the Policy Innovation and Coordination Office during former chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s administration.

Lee also outlined four areas of focus, the first of which involved asking the newly appointed head of the unit to be “forward-thinking” in helping his government come up with long-term policies.

“Secondly, I’ve put a lot of emphasis on integrating into national development plans, therefore I hope [the newly appointed head] keeps a close eye on national development, policies and plans to suggest points of connection where we can more proactively involve ourselves in the development of the country for the best opportunities,” Lee said.

“Thirdly, we hope you can keep a close watch on international development and relations,” he added, urging Wong to look out for risks while pursuing opportunities.

Some critics have said that the lack of a think tank to gauge public sentiment during Lam’s administration was the cause of the previous government’s failure to heed frustrations leading to months-long anti-government protests in 2019, as the former city leader had revamped the Central Policy Unit into a body focused on innovation instead.

On Tuesday, Lee told Wong that the last of the four main tasks was to feel the pulse of society and look for elements that were “favourable to harmony”, adding this would help the government form comprehensive policies.

Lee praised Wong’s track record in policymaking and acknowledged the top positions he previously held in several financial institutions.

Wong is currently the senior vice-president and executive director of Public Policy Institute at the Our Hong Kong Foundation, founded by the city’s first chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, in 2015. Wong previously took leave from his position to help run Lee’s election campaign for the city’s top post earlier this year.

He was voted in as a lawmaker late last year through the Election Committee constituency, an electorate filled with Beijing loyalists which was introduced under an overhaul by the central government in 2021 to ensure “patriots administering Hong Kong”.

Stephen Wong will lead the Chief Executive’s Policy Unit.


Wong previously worked as an investment banker and served in managerial roles at UBS (London) and Royal Bank of Scotland. He was also a board member at the Financial Services Development Council, Urban Renewal Authority Board and Town Planning Board.

Political analyst Lau Siu-kai, of the semi-official think tank Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said a unit specialising in analysing complicated and tense international geopolitics was needed.

“Compared with the past, the current international situation puts Hong Kong at tremendous risk and could cause more turbulence in the city, as Western nations always want to suppress the mainland and city’s development,” said Lau, who also served as the former head of the Central Policy Unit.

He added that the new unit could be helpful in providing suggestions and insights on coping with unprecedentedly challenging cross-strait relations and how to expedite the integration of the city into the rest of the country.

In order to minimise possible resistance from other bureaus on suggestions made by the new think tank, Lau suggested that bureau representatives should be involved and become stakeholders during the process.

But lawmaker Tik Chi-yuen, chairman of the Third Side party and once a part-time member of the Central Policy Unit, said he worried that the new body would be burdened by too many areas of focus, which could lead to discussions being surface level.

“The Central Policy Unit put more emphasis on Hong Kong’s policy and politics, while the areas the Chief Executive’s Policy Unit will cover are a bit too wide, including integrating into national development plans and maintaining international relationships, as well as taking care of how residents feel,” said Tik, expressing concerns over the manpower that would be required to operate the unit, while also agreeing on its general direction.

“I worry the analysis will not be as in-depth if the CEPU needs to discuss too many areas,” he said.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Close
0:00
0:00
Today's news from Britain - 9th February 2023
China has declined the US's request for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to speak with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe after the US Air Force shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, according to the Pentagon
The five largest oil companies in the West generated combined profits of nearly $200 billion in 2022, which has led to increased calls for governments to impose tougher windfall taxes
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Hong Kong airlines taking bold action after the years of pandemic lockdown and travel restrictions, to make Hong Kong great again
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
×