Speech by Chief Executive, Mr. John Lee, at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Sixth-term Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
1 July 2022
Honourable President Xi, distinguished guests, fellow citizens,
Today, with a humble heart, I have been sworn in by the President of the People’s Republic of China as the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Central People’s Government and the people of Hong Kong for the trust they place in me. I will lead my team to strive to build a more caring and inclusive Hong Kong filled with vibrancy, hope and development opportunities.
Twenty-five years ago, at the stroke of midnight on July 1, the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China was played and the national flag and the HKSAR regional flag were raised gradually at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where we are right now. It is at that solemn moment that the HKSAR was officially established and the great and innovative principle of “One Country, Two Systems” was formally implemented.
The principle of “One Country, Two Systems” is the institutional safeguard of Hong Kong and the cornerstone of maintaining Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability. It is also a successful national policy that allows Hong Kong to maintain its unique strengths. Over the past two and a half decades, Hong Kong has made impressive achievements on multiple fronts. It has been recognised as the world’s freest economy, the world’s No. 3 global financial centre and the fifth most competitive economy around the globe. Hong Kong is also the world’s largest offshore Renminbi hub and the world’s No. 1 in terms of air cargo throughput. In addition, five of the universities in Hong Kong are in the World Top 100. The list goes on.
Hong Kong has of course also encountered various challenges, including the global financial crisis, the unlawful occupy movement in 2014, the Mong Kok riots in 2016, the riots and violence in 2019 together with the interference in Hong Kong’s affairs by external forces which threatened our national security, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the full support of the Central Authorities, the vitality and strength of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, as well as Hong Kong citizens’ diligence and determination to seek improvements, Hong Kong succeeded to overcome each and every challenge and move forward to scale new heights.
This fully demonstrates two major strengths of Hong Kong. The first one comprises Hong Kong’s unique advantages under “One Country, Two Systems” as a special administrative region – making it possible for Hong Kong to fully integrate into our country’s national development, to thrive as a metropolitan city with high international connectivity, and to serve as the most effective gateway between the world and our country. The second is the combination of our own advantages, resilience and strong will of our people, and the concerted efforts of all sectors of the community.
It is the greatest honour for me today to shoulder this historic mission given to me by the Central Authorities and the people of Hong Kong. I know well the great responsibility that comes with it. I will strive to comprehensively and accurately implement the principles of “One Country, Two Systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy, to safeguard the constitutional order of the HKSAR as defined under the Constitution and the Basic Law, to safeguard our country’s sovereignty, national security, and development interests, and to ensure the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.
The rule of law is the cornerstone and core value of Hong Kong’s success. Since our return to the motherland, the Basic Law protects the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents and protects the independent judiciary and final adjudication. Hong Kong has been ranked as the world’s No. 19 in the rule of law, followed by many countries in Europe and America. Being a highly market-oriented and international economy underpinned by the rule of law, Hong Kong has exactly what it takes to be a successful international city.
With the enactment and implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law, Hong Kong has made it to restore order from chaos. The improvement of the electoral system has enabled the implementation of the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”. The improved electoral system upholds the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, accords with the actual situation of Hong Kong, and caters for the needs of Hong Kong’s development. It is therefore imperative that we should cherish and uphold the system for a long time to come, and we should make good use of it to effect sound governance.
The next five years will be a crucial time for Hong Kong to advance from governance to prosperity. The HKSAR Government will press ahead to overcome challenges with a pragmatic and can-do attitude, and adopt a result-oriented approach to solve social problems. The governing team will value teamwork and the need to support and complement one another. We are bold to change, willing to embrace challenges and seek innovation in order to enhance the efficiency of governance and tackle problems for the people. Leading officials of the Government will proactively intervene to solve problems and make directions to nip problems in the bud. We will be mindful of the public’s expectations in policy making. Even if we may only solve one problem a day, without making such small steps, it is simply impossible to get to faraway places. Through perseverance we shall succeed.
The HKSAR Government will enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness and develop the economy. Apart from strengthening our established sectors and reinforcing Hong Kong’s status as an international financial, transportation and trading centre, we will strive to fully develop a range of emerging industries under the National 14th Five-Year Plan. Emphasis will be put on the development of Hong Kong into an international innovation and technology (I&T) hub, leveraging and combining the respective strengths of Hong Kong and the Mainland, as well as strengths of other places, and facilitating the commercialisation of our basic research results as driven by the industry chains, talent and market forces in the Mainland, especially the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. In doing so, we will foster robust growth in I&T and various areas, and rise to the challenges of global competition.
The newly opened Hong Kong Palace Museum, which showcases a rich trove of national treasures plus Chinese history and culture, is set to attract visitors from all over the world to come to Hong Kong, and is conducive to the spread of the fine Chinese culture. This, coupled with the M+ museum of modern and contemporary visual culture and a series of Hong Kong’s cultural and arts exhibitions and performances, will work well together in developing Hong Kong into an East meets West centre for international cultural exchange, thereby enhancing the international positioning of Hong Kong. The Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development also bring us unlimited opportunities and room for development.
Development is the gold key to resolving social problems and improving people’s livelihood. Our governance will be people-based. We will tackle the problem of land and housing, set up working groups to enhance action and co-ordination, and expedite developments through improving efficiency and increasing quantity holistically. Diversified sources of land and housing supply will be explored. We will also adopt a scientific and precise management approach to bring under control the COVID-19 epidemic situation, strengthen the resilience of our healthcare system, and enhance protection of the elderly and the young children. Young people are the future of society. We will formulate a comprehensive youth policy and development blueprint, broaden the scope for upward mobility of our youngsters, and encourage them to embrace the opportunities of the Greater Bay Area and make their dreams come true. We will enhance our education system, and nurture a new generation of youth with an affection for our country, a global perspective and a perspective of the overall situation as well.
Development aside, the Government will stay vigilant and strive to keep crises at bay. We will lay the foundation for stability and ensure that there are adequate preventive and protective capabilities to counter threats against national security, financial security, food and health security, supplies security, etc. The Government will send officials and delegations to visit overseas countries and regions. We shall make good use of our discourse power to tell a good Hong Kong story and tell them the achievements and real truth about the success of Hong Kong.
My campaign slogan is “Starting a New Chapter for Hong Kong Together”. “Together” is the key word. The word “together” reflects the great importance I attach to teamwork. It carries a dual meaning: first, my team and I will stay united, share common goals and work with concerted efforts to achieve the synergy effect of “one plus one is greater than two”; second, the Government will work together with the community in unity and give full play to our strengths in charting the future of Hong Kong. With the concerted efforts of the Government, the community and individuals, we will be working with one heart and will become even stronger to overcome all the difficulties ahead.
Fellow citizens, we are now all set at a new starting line. We are in no way complacent about our past achievements, and will strive to overcome challenges and problems ahead. Let’s join hands and stay united in passing on the Hong Kong legacy of courage and strong will to overcome challenges. Together, we will start a new chapter for building a better Hong Kong, contribute to the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and contribute to realise China’s dream of national rejuvenation.