Bay area plan builds bright, global future for Hong Kong

By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/2/20 20:33:22

China on Monday released a grand plan for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, aiming to develop the region into a role model of high-quality development. Under the blueprint, Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are the four "core engines" to drive the bay area's development.

But this plan - aiming at improving people's livelihood and making the area a new powerhouse that leads global development - makes some uncomfortable. Trying to divide Hong Kong society, they politicized the plan, saying it would lead to Hong Kong's greater assimilation into the Chinese mainland. Voice of America said on its Chinese website that the plan may affect the system of Hong Kong, making the city lose its economic freedom and even become a second, even third-tier city of China.

Such queries are ridiculous. These people never regard Hong Kong as a part of China, let alone care about Hong Kong residents' livelihood. Those pro-independence activists in Hong Kong and Western media need to answer: What exactly is the challenge that Hong Kong is facing? 

Hong Kong's development has met difficulties in recent years. An important reason is that its connection with the Chinese mainland hasn't advanced with the times. The rapid development of Shenzhen and Zhuhai has partly replaced Hong Kong's special function. 

For Hong Kong, the most important thing is to make it develop in step with the mainland and give full play to its status.

The Hong Kong Productivity Council's first quarter result of the Standard Chartered SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) Index shows that Hong Kong's economy may face one of the weakest starts to a year in a decade. 

Solutions to these problems can be found in the grand plan. To strengthen the economy, the plan supports Hong Kong in consolidating its status as an international financial, transportation and trade center. The plan also encourages the area to promote cooperation in scientific research and talent exchange. These are all concrete ways to improve Hong Kong's economy and its residents' living standards. 

The pro-independence activists are getting paranoid. Their queries about the plan only came out of thin air. For Hong Kong, deepening cooperation with the mainland is the only reciprocal way. To better implement "one country, two systems," Hong Kong needs to revitalize itself during cooperation. Hong Kong can't be marginalized as inland cities can't totally replace Hong Kong. The key is how to bring Hong Kong's special status into full play. Isolating itself from the area is swimming against the dominant tide of globalization and will never help.

Politicizing people's livelihood issues creates conflicts between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. The grand plan is a precious opportunity for Hong Kong. 

We do hope that Hong Kong can seize the great chance of development, improve connectivity with other cities in the bay area and build a bright future.

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