'Youngsters not to blame for mistrust'
Youngsters can't be blamed for not trusting the central government and the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, as most Hongkongers do not understand the mainland system, Executive Council convenor Bernard Chan said.
In an interview with the Hang Seng University, Chan said the government has focused on economic development but failed to address problems caused by the integration of Hong Kong and the mainland.
Integration has caused dramatic changes over the last 20 years, such as the influx of mainland tourists. The government has not put enough thought into how much society could handle, he explained.
He added that he believes there has been insufficient communication between the government and the public, which has led to social conflict.
Taking the fugitive bill as an example, Chan said he believed people's skepticism toward the bill could have been avoided if the correct messages had been conveyed by the government early on.
Chan said it is normal for young people to resist going to the Greater Bay Area for career development due to their lack of understanding of the mainland.
Young people do not necessarily have to work in the mainland to succeed, Chan said, but he encourages them to learn about and understand the mainland market.
"You have to understand the market of the 70 million people [in the GBA]," he said.
Hong Kong's status as an international financial center has been affected by Sino-US relations, Chan said, but he believes the city can retain its status with the central government's support under "one country, two systems."
"If we continue maintaining a sound legal system, sending the message that we have an independent judicial system, foreign investors will have confidence in Hong Kong," he said.
The SAR's status can be further secured if it attracts global professionals and talents, he continued.
Separately, Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, the chairman and managing director of Sun Hung Kai Properties, expressed his support for the "patriots ruling Hong Kong" principle emphasized by Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office head Xia Baolong.
"Only when Hong Kong's jurisdiction is firmly in the hands of patriots can the foundation for and guarantee of Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity be formed," he said.