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CE: PA resolves to reinforce strengths, address deep-rooted issues

By William Xu in Hong Kong | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-10-26 10:15

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu holds up booklets of the 2023 Policy Address during a press briefing in Hong Kong on Wednesday. [Photo/Xinhua]

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Wednesday said the new Policy Address has mapped out strategies to enhance the city's competitiveness in finance, technology and education, as well as showcasing the government's resolve in addressing deep-seated challenges plaguing the society, such as the housing shortage and the sinking fertility rate.

The chief executive appeared during a media conference on Wednesday afternoon shortly after he delivered an over three-hour policy address in the Legislative Council.

Lee told reporters that his newly released policy address highlights the governance improvement, economic growth and building a livable city.

Raise competitiveness

Lee said consolidating Hong Kong's position as an international financial hub is among the highest priorities in the government's agenda. Therefore, the policy address put forward measures, such as reducing stamp duty on stock transfer, to serve this purpose, Lee added.

He also said Hong Kong will further lower the cost of financial transactions and optimize the financial institutions' operation to lure more overseas investors and reinforce the city's competitiveness in finance.

Hong Kong will also leverage its prowess to engage in the Belt and Road Initiative and other projects of national significance, he said.

Article 23

Meanwhile, Hong Kong will fulfill its constitutional responsibilities by completing the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law in 2024, Lee emphasized.

Lee told reporters that Hong Kong had paid a heavy price in the social turbulence in 2019, and the lesson taught Hong Kong people the significance of national security and social stability.

He said the government will conduct public consultations to ensure people know how the legislation can protect them.

Uproot deep-seated problems

According to the policy address, the government will set up a task force to systematically review and tackle the issue of subdivided flats.

He said the move sends a clear message that his administration determines to solve the long-standing problem and phase out all unfavorable subdivided flats step by step.

Lee also stressed that he hopes to halt the deteriorating trends on many issues through his polices, such as the longer queue for public housing, which has seen improvement recently, and the city's rock-bottom fertility rate.

By introducing cash handout and other supporting measures for families with newborn children, Lee said he hopes to convey a strong message to the Hong Kong community that the government is on its way to create a better environment for raising a baby.

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