Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang delivered the first policy address of his new term yesterday, highlighting "progressive development" as the main theme for the city’s development in the next five years.
He pointed out that China’s rise has ushered in a new era for Hong Kong, and called upon Hong Kong people to become "new Hongkongers" who are "better equipped to sustain developments in the new era".
Underlining the significance of infrastructure in economic development, Tsang listed 10 large-scale projects he would push ahead during his current term. Together they would add more than HK$100 billion to the local economy a year, which amounts to 7 percent of the SAR's GDP in 2006, and create about 250,000 more jobs.
Infrastructure development will be coupled with corresponding efforts in reinforcing the city's position as a global financial center.
Tsang pledged to actively facilitate mainland investors' participation in Hong Kong's stock market under the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors Scheme and introduce other financial reforms and products to lure overseas investors.
He also promised to strengthen cooperation with the mainland financial market, develop an Islamic bond market, and promote international arbitration services.
In terms of economic and trade development, Tsang said the SAR government will continue to help Hong Kong manufacturers adapt to the new business environment in the Pearl River Delta through communication with the central government and the industry.
"Progressive development" also applies to the realms of culture, society and the environment, the CE explained.
Tsang pledged to introduce energy saving measures at different levels and encourage power companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Responding to rising public demand for preserving historical buildings, he will introduce the concept of revitalization to ensure that the structures could have practical use after preservation.
Honoring his promise made during his election campaign earlier this year, Tsang cut the standard rate of salaries tax to 15 percent and lowered profits tax by one percentage point to 16.5 percent in 2008-2009.
In helping the poor and needy, he encouraged the private sector to develop social enterprises that employ the underprivileged, expand schemes that retrain jobless people, prepare for legislating a minimum wage for security guards and cleaning workers, and set up a child development fund.
The elderly will receive health care vouchers to buy private medical care, and more day care and home care services.
To enhance the quality of the younger generation, the government will extend the provision of free education to 12 years from nine and reduce the size of school classes to 25.
New international schools will be built and universities will accept more non-local students to enhance the SAR's education hub status.
1. Chief Executive Donald Tsang says 10 large-scale projects will add how much money to the economy?
2. Explain Tsang’s concept of revitalization for historical buildings.
3. How does he want the private sector to help the underpriviledged?
1. HK$100 billion a year.
2. The structures could have practical use after preservation.
3. He wants them to develop social enterprises that employ the underprivileged, expand schemes that retrain jobless people, prepare for legislating a minimum wage for security guards and cleaning workers, and set up a child development fund.
（英语点津 Celene 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Bernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.