CHINA> Leadership
Tsang sees a stronger, more mature SAR
By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-28 06:47

The unusual experience of Hong Kong in the past 10 years has proved the principle of "one country, two systems" an unprecedented success, said Donald Tsang, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

"Hong Kong is now stronger, more mature and knows more about its own future," said Tsang in an interview with China Daily.

Tsang noted that Hong Kong had experienced some difficulties in the past 10 years, including the Asian financial crisis, bird flu and SARS.

"Every event has led to economic or social changes in Hong Kong, but we have survived all these difficulties Hong Kong has enhanced its capacity to handle emergencies through these ups and downs," Tsang said.

For instance, the SAR's financial market has become more resistant to attacks by international speculators since the financial crisis, and Hong Kong improved public sanitation after the SARS outbreak. It is better able to handle public health crises, Tsang said.

"It's the Hong Kong spirit that we never give up," he said. "In Hong Kong, we have made it tradition to learn from every experience."

Tsang said the central government always stood by Hong Kong, giving it as much support as it needed over the past decade.

"Meanwhile, in the past 10 years, Hong Kong's lifestyle, core values, freedom, fairness - everything Hongkongers most value - have not weakened, but have been getting stronger," he said. "Hong Kong's identity has come into sharper focus, and Hong Kong residents are proud of the rapid development of the motherland."

As for the linkage with the motherland, the chief executive said the central government had done a fine job preserving Hong Kong's financial, trade and shipping focus in the country's 11th Five-Year Plan, which outlines the development of the whole country from 2006 to 2010.

"The rapid development of the whole country has given a great opportunity to Hong Kong," Tsang said. "It shows the support and expectations the central government has for Hong Kong."

He admitted that competition between Hong Kong and the mainland would be inevitable in some fields, but he added that 90 percent of Hong Kong's economic power comes from the services industry.

"Hong Kong's development course will be different from that of the mainland, and it will always adjust itself according to the needs of the market and the development of the mainland," Tsang said. "Actually, Hong Kong's economy and those of the mainland's cities have generally complimented each other."

Tsang, a former salesman, has occupied various posts in the Hong Kong government over the past 10 years, giving him a unique view of the changes that have taken place. Tsang was elected chief executive of the HKSAR in June 2005, when his predecessor, Tung Chee Hwa, resigned mid-way through his second term due to poor health.

On March 25, Tsang won a landslide election to become the chief executive of the HKSAR. His term begins on Sunday and ends on June 30, 2012.

(China Daily 06/28/2007 page4)