Legislators from Hong Kong hailed the importance of the high-speed railway connecting Hong Kong and the mainland, which will be especially crucial for the younger generation facing employment challenges in Hong Kong. [Special coverage]
"The 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) showed support from the mainland for younger generation in Hong Kong and Macao for entrepreneurship in the mainland - which will help deal with the problems facing our young people," Michael Tien Puk-sun, a Hong Kong delegate of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), told the Global Times.
Tien explained that Hong Kong's economy has a structural problem, citing legal and financial services as major GDP engines but contribute less to the job market. With the 13th Five-Year Plan, young people from Hong Kong will be able to make full use of the mainland's support policies to start businesses in the mainland, he said.
"Thanks to the high-speed railway, people will be able to live in Hong Kong and travel half an hour to work in Shenzhen, considering Hong Kong residents' dislike for relocating," Tien said.
Begun in 2010, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed railway is scheduled to be completed and operational by 2018.
Tien added that what is more important is how to further facilitate exchanges by granting joint border control to ease entry-exit between the mainland and Hong Kong.
In his bill, Tien recommended that more mainland cities be granted individual travel permits to Hong Kong. "Instead of setting a quota on the cities issuing personal travel permits, there should be a quota on the total number of tourists to Hong Kong and a different quota may be set for each month to ease the pressure on local tourist services at specific times of the year," he said.
Meanwhile, Peter Wong Man-kong, another NPC delegate from Hong Kong, suggested promoting traditional Chinese culture to enhance a sense of identity among Hong Kong residents, especially among the younger generation, who lack an education in Chinese history and culture.
"Most young people in Hong Kong have faith in our country, but under the influence of Western ideology and some deliberate agitation from the West to make Hong Kong chaotic, some young people are against not only the government but also traditional Chinese culture," Wong told the Global Times.