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The 2008-09 Policy Address: Embracing New Challenges

Report - Politics
October 18 2008

The 2008-09 Policy Address: Embracing New ChallengesFollowing is the full text of the 2008-09 Policy Address - Embracing New Challenges - by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Mr Donald Tsang, in the Legislative Council today (October 15, 2008):

Mr President,
A. Introduction

1.  Last year, I delivered the first Policy Address of the Third Term Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).  It set out a five-year blueprint for the Government.

Governance Review
Progressive Development
2.  In that Policy Address, entitled "A New Direction for Hong Kong", I advocated "Progressive Development" as a core value of our governance.  This includes promoting economic development as our primary goal, promoting economic development through infrastructure projects, promoting community development through the revitalisation of historic and built heritage, and promoting social harmony under the concept of helping people to help themselves.  We have been implementing these pledges over the past year.

3.  The large-scale infrastructure projects are coming on line.  The construction start dates for most of the transport infrastructure projects have been fixed, and there has been significant progress in cross-boundary infrastructure projects.  Design of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link is under way.  A consensus has been reached on financing arrangements for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.  We expect works to start by 2010.  We have been examining ways to enhance co-operation between Hong Kong International Airport and Shenzhen Airport, and to develop the Lok Ma Chau Loop. 

4.  The West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) is an important strategic project that will support Hong Kong's development as a creative economy and global metropolis.  The Legislative Council has approved the bill and funding application for this project.  The WKCD Authority will be established soon to steer the project.  We have also decided that the Government should fund the construction of the Kai Tak cruise terminal and will submit detailed proposals in phases to the Finance Committee for approval.  We expect works to start in 2009 and aim to complete the first berth in 2013.

5.  The concept of "Progressive Development" represents sustainable, diversified and balanced development.  Last year we achieved substantial progress in striking a balance between economic development and environmental conservation.  We signed the new Scheme of Control Agreements with the two power companies.  This means lower electricity tariffs for the public.  This also means that the power companies will reduce emissions through an incentive and penalty mechanism.  In August, with the support of the Central Government, we secured a continuous and stable supply of clean fuel from the Mainland.  This, in turn, will help improve the air quality in Hong Kong. ...

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F. Conclusion
128. Mr President, in my previous Policy Address I outlined a five-year blueprint for Hong Kong, and set out clear development goals.  With the concerted efforts of our governing team, the civil service and this Council, my policy agenda is being gradually implemented.  I would like to thank Honourable Members for your support.  Our track record has shown that ours is a pragmatic government that gets things done.

129. In my view, the Chief Executive has two leadership roles as a political leader and a government administrator.  As political leader, I have to set development goals and uphold core social values, and embody these goals and values in the policy agenda, development strategies and public policies.  To get the job done, I need to interact with and listen to the views of the Legislative Council, political parties and various sectors in the community.  Having devoted my entire career to public service, I have a reasonable grasp of the management and administrative duties as a government administrator.  As our political institution evolves, there is bound to be room for improvement for the expanded Political Appointment System, as well as the Chief Executive's mode and style of governance.

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Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, is a territory located on China's south coast on the Pearl River Delta, and borders Guangdong province in the north and faces the South China Sea in the east, west and south. It has a population of 6.9 million people, and is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

Beginning as a trading port, Hong Kong became a dependent territory of the United Kingdom in 1842, and remained so until the transfer of its sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1997. Along with Macau, Hong Kong is one of two special administrative regions and is generally not considered as part of mainland China. Under the "one country, two systems" policy, Hong Kong has a high degree of autonomy, is largely self-governing, and maintains a highly capitalist economy.

Renowned for its expansive skyline and natural setting, Hong Kong is one of the world's leading financial capitals and a major business and cultural hub. Its identity as a cosmopolitan centre where east meets west is reflected in its cuisine, cinema, music and traditions, and although the population is predominantly Chinese, residents and expatriates of other ethnicities form a small but significant segment of society. (

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