HKSAR establishes Chief Executive Policy Unit, showing increasing priority of integrating into national development plan
Published: May 31, 2023 01:25 AM
HK Photo:VCG


The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government announced on Tuesday the establishment of the Chief Executive Policy Unit (CEPU) Expert Group and the appointment of 56 members, with a one-year term of appointment. The CEPU Expert Group comprises members of different backgrounds including high-level experts and scholars from the Chinese mainland, showing the increasing priority of integrating into the national development plan in the HKSAR government's work agenda.

The group includes members with backgrounds such as business, finance and academia. To facilitate the work of the group and conduct more focused discussions, it is organized along three broad lines, namely the Economic Advancement Expert Group, Social Development Expert Group and Research Strategy Expert Group, according to the HKSAR government.

When John Lee, chief executive of the HKSAR government, announced the establishment of the CEPU in December 2022, he said that it aims to improve Hong Kong's governance, enhance governance capability and governance efficacy. It is also an important step in enhancing the HKSAR government's capabilities in research and advocacy on long-term and strategic issues.

The CEPU is expected to make contributions in areas such as the formulation of long-term and strategic policies from a forward-thinking perspective, while keeping abreast of national development, examining international relations and situations, analyzing opportunities and risks and grasping the sentiments of Hong Kong residents.

Since the establishment of the CEPU half a year ago, it has been keeping a low profile, some observers said.

Among the three broad streams, the largest one is the Research Strategy Expert Group, which includes several scholars well-known in the field of Hong Kong affairs research, such as Zheng Yongnian, Lau Siu-kai and Francis Lui.

Notably, scholars like Zheng Yongnian are not locals in Hong Kong but have focused on issues such as the development of the Greater Bay Area for years, and have published views on topics such as Hong Kong's "Second Return."

Lau confirmed the establishment of the CEPU Expert Group and his membership with the Global Times on Tuesday.

The group is not believed to be full-time and is expected to meet only once or twice a year, Lau said.

"The primary goal is to provide the chief executive and his team with broader, deeper, and higher quality research services on Hong Kong governance and to offer research opinions and insights. Whether the group can ultimately be effective depends on how well the Hong Kong government utilizes the talent and research results of the group," he said.

Lau served as chief consultant of the Central Policy Group of the HKSAR government from 2002 to 2012.

Lau said that the expert group established this time differs in role and operating method from the policy group of that time. He explained that the part-time consultants of the Central Policy Group used to meet every two weeks, focusing more on discussing issues of concern to the HKSAR government. Many members of the Central Policy Group now hold positions in the Legislative Council or government, which differs from the composition of the current expert group.

Francis Lui, another member, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the members of the expert group come from different backgrounds and professions, which allows them to view issues from different perspectives.

At present, like the mainland, Hong Kong is undergoing major changes, which presents many opportunities but also many challenges, Lui said.

As an expert in the economic field, he said he will continue to deeply study the financial security and stability of Hong Kong, especially how Hong Kong, as an international financial center, can resist external risks under the backdrop of China-US confrontation, and how Hong Kong can better participate in the construction of the Greater Bay Area.

Currently, although the CEPU Expert Group only has 56 members, Lui believes that the number may increase in the future as they find the best way for the expert group to operate.