A better Chinese mainland means better future for HK

Updated: 2012-11-23 06:51

By Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung (HK Edition)

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The 18th National Congress of the CPC and the US presidential election have grabbed the world's attention this month as the political and economic developments of the world's most powerful nations will have a profound impact on global politics and the economy in the coming years.

Hong Kong's geographical position as a link between the mainland and the outside world has given Hong Kong a competitive edge in gaining earlier access to the mainland market over the neighboring regions. As a small, open economy, Hong Kong cannot be immune to political and economic developments on the mainland and in the rest of the world. Take monetary policy for example, because of its peg to the weaker US dollar on the back of the US Federal Reserve's three rounds of quantitative easing, the Hong Kong dollar has fallen steeply against other currencies. Meanwhile, the appreciation of the yuan means higher prices for food and daily necessities, not to mention the impact of exchange rate fluctuation on businesses engaged in foreign trade. That's why a relatively stable external environment after President Obama's re-election and the smooth succession of the CPC central leadership is good for Hong Kong.

The recent US presidential election gained intense media attention, more for the sensational campaigns that the candidates presented, than for their political platforms. In order to understand the political development of the US, it is important to start with understanding the electoral votes count. In fact, as the House of Representatives is controlled again by the Republicans while the Senate remains with a narrow Democratic majority, Obama will continue to face strong opposition from the Republican Party. This is equally important for us to know in our own country, including its political structure and the operation of government. One can learn a lot by listening and understanding, before airing one's views or acting hastily upon what has been said.

Some may hesitate about the saying "a better Chinese mainland means a better Hong Kong," but no one can deny that Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland are linked in many ways. As the two share many common interests, the central government's pledge to deepen reform at all levels at the 18th Party Congress is a significant opportunity for Hong Kong people to take part in the country's growth. The new leaders also acknowledged that there are many pressing problems, such as corruption, bureaucracy and separation from the people that need to be resolved. In future, it will face many of the challenges that Hong Kong is currently handling or has effectively resolved - and therein lie opportunities to add value to each other's economic and social developments. Hong Kong can help the mainland to open further up and improve policy transparency, especially through advisory and constructive initiatives. By doing so, we can strengthen our bilateral relationship so as to develop further partnerships and businesses.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, previously held charge over Hong Kong and Macao affairs, while Politburo standing committee member Zhang Dejiang had served as Guangdong governor for years. Both leaders know Hong Kong well. Meanwhile, Li Keqiang and Wang Qishan, also Politburo standing committee members, are well-versed in economic affairs; and Politburo standing committee member Yu Zhengsheng was a top official in the municipal government of Shanghai, which is on track to become an international financial center. It is important that they are well aware of the importance of the "One Country, Two systems" principle and consolidating Hong Kong's role as a testing ground for the mainland's financial reforms.

More importantly, the central government, taking full account of Hong Kong's positioning while formulating major, specific plans for the future, will diversify Hong Kong's Renminbi business and strengthen our ability to handle Renminbi-denominated financial transactions. It is quite clear that Hong Kong will see another 10 years of prosperity, provided we seize every opportunity coming our way.

Xi said in his first address as top Party leader last Thursday that "China needs to learn more about the world and so does the world about China." Hong Kong, as a window of the country looking out on the outside world and a meeting point for China and the West, has played a significant role for more than a century. Today Hong Kong people should care about the motherland more than ever, especially its continued efforts to deepen its reform and opening-up, so as to find the right place for the long-term development of Hong Kong.

The author is a Hong Kong member of the CPPCC.

(HK Edition 11/23/2012 page3)