HK chief vows to boost national security education, economy

2024-03-27 09:33:02China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Lee says city will implement measures proposed in policy address and budget

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on Tuesday that the special administrative region's government will focus on economic development following the enactment of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, while continuing public education and explaining the law.

Speaking to reporters before a weekly Executive Council meeting, Lee said the implementation of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance fulfilled the SAR's constitutional responsibility, and the milestone meant Hong Kong could now shift its focus toward comprehensive economic growth and development.

The ordinance, which received unanimous support from the Legislative Council on March 19, came into effect on Saturday. It was created to prevent and punish five types of acts that endanger national security, including treason, theft of State secrets, and espionage.

Lee told reporters that the city will implement the measures proposed in the policy address delivered in October, and the 2024-25 budget, announced in February. He said special focuses will be consolidating and developing Hong Kong as set out in the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), building a megaproject to develop the city's boundary regions, and establishing industry-oriented development strategies.

As the world's economic focus shifts toward the East, Lee said that the government will actively explore Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern markets — two emerging economic engines — while strengthening financial and regional economic cooperation.

Lee also pledged to integrate the city into the nation's development, and enhance connectivity among cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Lee reaffirmed the government's commitment to attracting talent and businesses, citing significant progress made over the past 18 months.

The government has assisted 101 Chinese mainland and overseas companies to establish or expand their businesses in Hong Kong.

The city has also successfully wooed nearly 50 key enterprises to establish footholds in the city with HK$40 billion ($5.1 billion) in investment. Their presence has created over 13,000 job opportunities, Lee added. Drawn by various government talent programs, over 100,000 skilled personnel have arrived in Hong Kong since last year, Lee said.

He also underscored the importance of boosting the local economy, including tourism, consumption and investment. Lee said Hong Kong is expected to welcome 50 million visitors this year, and authorities will organize grand events to spread awareness of Hong Kong's openness, diversity, vitality and opportunities.

In addition to economic growth, Lee said the government will continue to inform people about the new security ordinance and promote national security education.

He said the primary objectives of the ordinance are to prevent, suppress and penalize activities that pose a threat to national security.

Government departments will also expedite training programs to enhance their abilities in intelligence collection and analysis, Lee added.

The government will continue to organize meetings with local and overseas chambers of commerce to explain the law, he said, adding that when government officials visit foreign countries and regions, they will seize opportunities to engage with the business community and inform them about the ordinance.

Authorities will also enhance national security education by combining it with patriotism education and Chinese culture education, in a bid to prevent national security risks while enhancing people's understanding of Chinese culture, history and the country's development, he said.


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