HK real estate tycoons voice support for national security legislation

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/27 15:09:52

Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing waves goodbye after announcing his retirement as chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd at a news conference in Hong Kong. Also known as "superman" to many, Li, who turns 90 in July, built a business empire that included retail, energy, ports, telecommunications, media and biotechnology companies worldwide. Photo: VCG

Hong Kong real estate tycoons are "patriotic businesspeople" as they showed firm support and have the correct stance on the national security legislation proposed by the Chinese central government, experts said. And their confidence in the Hong Kong economy and business environment in the future differs from pessimistic predictions from the West, who claim the legislation will weaken the city's role as an economic hub and financial center. 

The national security legislation for Hong Kong will play a positive role in ensuring long-term stable development for the city, said Hong Kong real estate tycoon Li Ka-shing, expressing support for the law that many believe will bring an end to violent radical activities in the city. 

In an interview with Hong Kong media on Wednesday, he said every country has the right and responsibility to legislate on its own security issues.

The Hong Kong version of the national security law will ease the central government's concerns over Hong Kong and play a positive role in ensuring its long-term stability and development, Li told media.  

Li also stressed that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government is duty-bound to consolidate the confidence of the Hong Kong people in "one country, two systems" and strengthen the trust of the international community. 

Li had previously been embroiled in controversy. He was criticized for making housing unaffordable for ordinary people in Hong Kong, and for being too tolerant to rioters.

Li Xiaobing, a Hong Kong affairs expert at Nankai University in Tianjin, said that "in the turmoil last year, Li Ka-shing was making remarks on a local issue within the city so he could remain vague to avoid offending some political forces. But this time is totally different."

"The national security legislation is the will of the country with unshakable determination, so there is no space for these real estate tycoons to be vague or even play double-dealers. There are only two choices that the central government provided to all groups in the city, including the business circle: stand with us, or against us," Li Xiaobing noted.

His elder son, Victor Li, has also voiced support for the legislation. He said Hong Kong is in an atmosphere of political chaos and an unclear business environment, and he hopes the national security law can stabilize the situation and restore social and economic activities there. 

Chairmen of the "Big Four" real estate companies - Sun Hung Kai Properties, CK Hutchison Group, New World Development, and Henderson Land Development - have also voiced support for the Hong Kong version of the national security legislation, Hong Kong-based Chinese language newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported.

The Hong Kong business community believes that without peace and stability, Hong Kong's economic position and development will not be preserved, adding that the legislation will foster a sound atmosphere for investment and business operations.

Peter Lee Ka-kit, co-chairman of Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd, said that "the most urgent priority for Hong Kong is to ensure employment and livelihood for the people… all of these can only be realized when national security and Hong Kong's social stability are secured. Otherwise, all efforts would be meaningless."

Li Xiaobing said Hong Kong real estate tycoons influence almost all crucial sectors in the city, including finance, health, retail, catering services and education, so they understand that it is impossible for them to stand with the separatists and foreign forces to confront the central government.

"The Western media and local opposition groups are exaggerating and distorting the impact the national legislation would bring to Hong Kong, and are trying to scare the people that Hong Kong's role as a economic hub and financial center will be lost as 'the one country, two systems' could end. Today, the support and confidence made by the 'Big Four' was like a slap on their faces," Li Xiaobing said.

Chinese mainland analysts said that the national security legislation will only target a few separatists, rioters and foreign forces harming China's national interest and security in the city, and there is no reason for ordinary people and businessmen to be scared. The "Big Four" have shown their "patriotic stance" to secure their position and economic benefits, analysts said.

On the implementation of the legislation, central government authorities, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and HKSAR government have sent a clear message and set a bottom line that the central government will not tolerate any act of secessionism, subversion, foreign interference or terrorism.


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