A New Direction for Hong Kong
Policy Address

G.        Conclusion

122.     Madam President, in the conclusion of my last Policy Address, I highlighted three major challenges facing the SAR, namely, sustaining economic development, furthering the development of democracy, and building a harmonious society. Following the establishment of the Third Term HKSAR Government, I have studied, discussed and examined these issues in great detail with the Secretaries and Directors of Bureaux and devised pragmatic and practicable strategies to meet the three major challenges.

123.     For these strategies to succeed, the Government, enterprises and individual citizens must each play their part. We all need to be pragmatic and proactive in shouldering our respective responsibilities. Otherwise, our strategies will be nothing but empty slogans or castles in the air.
Overcoming Self-doubt

124.     Hong Kong has always been a city of immigrants. In the wake of the Second World War, this tiny community saw an influx of migrants. They lived from hand to mouth and struggled to make ends meet. There was no catchy slogan or a grand vision of development. Taking one step at a time, Hong Kong transformed itself from a trading port into a world factory. Today, Hong Kong has made its mark on the world map as an international city and global financial centre.

125.     Hong Kong's development over the past six decades is a miracle, attesting to the dedication and contributions of every member of society. Working hard to earn a living, Hong Kong people together have created a miracle without realising it. At times, such a remarkable feat can appear quite incredible. This is why we have sometimes felt confused, particularly after the Asian financial crisis, and fell prey to self-doubt. We kept asking ourselves: Is the miracle over? Have we run out of luck? Are we at our wits' end? Have our golden days gone? The 1980s saw an economic boom in Hong Kong. People were confident and ambitious. When the Mainland economy entered a period of rapid growth in the 1990s, Hong Kong people's confidence fell. We feared that Hong Kong would be marginalised or eventually replaced by Mainland cities. Immediately after reunification, we were unsure about our identity. Time and again, we have asked ourselves: What will become of Hong Kong? Who are we?

126.     Let me share my thoughts with you. To free ourselves from doubt and confusion, we have to see Hong Kong from the perspective of our country's future. Only in doing so will we be able to cultivate the right niche for ourselves in our own nation. Over the past three decades, we have contributed substantially to our country's economic growth. Hong Kong's businessmen were the earliest investors in the Mainland when our country began to reform and open up. Our professionals followed suit and headed north to embark on new ventures. In the coming decade, Hong Kong will remain a balanced, pluralistic, stable and advanced city. We play by the rules of a free market while stressing corporate social responsibility. We embrace modern values while upholding the core values of the traditional Chinese family. We promote democratic development without compromising social stability or government efficiency. We pursue economic growth, and care about environmental protection and cultural conservation. We cherish the personal freedom of individuals and pluralism, and we have a shared sense of national identity. Ours is a Chinese city, as well as a global city. Hong Kong will certainly continue to serve the country in our unique way. We will also lay an even more solid foundation to maintain our own long term prosperity, stability and development.

127.     Working hard for bread and butter, Hong Kong people have created an economic miracle without realising it. Right now we are creating a new miracle. I have just turned 63, a post-war baby boomer. Ten years from now, our generation will fade out, and the next generation will take over. Our successors have to look at Hong Kong from the perspective of our nation's development. Only from this vantage point will they be able to see Hong Kong's promising future.