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CE Speech at reception in celebration of 27th anniversary of establishment of HKSAR

The Chief Executive, Mr John Lee v2

Amid the vibrant celebrations of the 27th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Chief Executive John Lee delivered a forward-looking speech at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Addressing a packed hall of distinguished guests and citizens, Lee emphasized the city’s resilience, achievements, and future aspirations.

“Today marks 27 years since Hong Kong’s transition to the HKSAR of the People’s Republic of China,” Lee began, underlining the significance of this year, which also commemorates the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Reflecting on his tenure, Lee paid homage to President Xi Jinping’s “four musts” and “four proposals” delivered in a pivotal speech two years ago, which have since framed his administration’s policies.

Lee highlighted the government’s accomplishments, including navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and normalizing travel. Notably, the completion of local legislation for Article 23 of the Basic Law marked a historic milestone after nearly 27 years. “We have improved district governance and fully implemented the principle of ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’,” he remarked, noting the establishment of Care Teams across all districts to support citizens in need.

Housing and property market reforms were central to Lee’s address. He assured that public rental housing wait times have been capped at six years, with initiatives like Light Public Housing projects set to reduce this to 4.5 years by 2026-27. The newly formed Task Force on Tackling the Issue of Subdivided Units aims to address critical housing concerns.

In response to Hong Kong’s declining fertility rate, Lee announced a shift from the government’s previous non-interventionist stance. Measures to promote childbirth now include priorities for families with newborns in housing allocation, tax incentives, enhanced childcare services, and the introduction of a Newborn Baby Bonus.

Lee also emphasized labor welfare improvements, including the annual review of the minimum wage and efforts to attract talent and investment. “About 120,000 talents have already come to Hong Kong,” he said, underscoring the city’s growing appeal.

To stimulate economic and social vibrancy, over 200 events are planned throughout the year under the “Day x Night Vibes” initiative. Lee’s administration has adopted an “industry-driven” approach to economic and social development, with Principal Officials traveling globally to promote Hong Kong.

Acknowledging the Central Government’s support, Lee detailed new measures, such as the expansion of the Individual Visit Scheme and initiatives to deepen financial cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong. These efforts aim to bolster the city’s economic integration and competitiveness.

Looking ahead, Lee outlined three main areas of focus for his administration: economic development and improving livelihoods, reinforcing competitive edges and exploring new growth areas, and seizing national and international opportunities. He highlighted the Northern Metropolis as a new growth engine, aligning with national development strategies like the Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Lee concluded his speech with a symbolic announcement: Hong Kong will soon welcome two giant pandas, a gift from the Central Government, symbolizing the strong ties between Hong Kong and the Mainland.

“Fellow citizens, we are all part of the Hong Kong family. Let’s stand united and scale new heights for Hong Kong together,” he urged, encapsulating a message of unity and forward momentum.