At this year’s “Two Sessions”, which ended in great success, China put forward a series of development plans for areas in politics, economy, people’s livelihood, and the legal system. Among them, capitalizing on Hong Kong’s unique strengths remains of great importance, which is evident in the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. All walks of life in Hong Kong should therefore play to their strengths and seize the opportunities.
Dou Shuhua: Formulation of Civil Code to promote rule of law
Dou Shuhua, Deputy Secretary-General of the NPC Standing Committee, said that as this is a crucial year to comprehensively deepen reform vertically, an important year to implement the “13th Five-Year Plan”, and a year to deepen supply-side structural reform, the NPC session stressed the overall tone of seeking progress while ensuring stability to achieve steady growth, push through reform, make structural adjustments, improve living standards, and guard against risks.
The General Provisions of Civil Law adopted this year is also a highlight as it provides a basis for the basic framework for constructing the civil legal system and the regulations in each chapter of the Civil Code. Dou stressed that formulating the Civil Code is a major step in achieving the full implementation of the rule of law and a systematic integration of the existing civil legal norms. The NPC and its Standing Committee have identified formulating the Civil Code as a key legislative task, with the General Provisions of Civil Law as the opening chapter.
Dou reiterated that with the country’s specific and concrete situation as the starting point, the newly formulated General Provisions of Civil Law draws on and learns from the country’s experience of the rule of law in civil cases while adapting to the new situation and new demands to comprehensively and systematically identify the basic stipulations and general rules that civil activities must follow, thus laying a solid foundation for the formulation of the Civil Code.
Deng Zongliang: “Proper, thorough, solid and innovative” proposals
According to the assessment made by Deng Zongliang, Deputy Secretary-General of the CPPCC National Committee, the CPPCC’s performance last year was “proper, thorough, solid and innovative”. “Proper” means it properly dealt with essential social tasks such as poverty alleviation; “thorough” means it worked in an orderly manner to resolve issues through different approaches such as policy conferences, consultative conferences and biweekly consultative forums; “solid” means its work was solid and in-depth, as Chairman of the CPPCC National Committee Yu Zhengsheng attached great importance to the CPPCC’s investigative work and stressed mutual cooperation and support between investigation and consultation; and “innovative” means it dared to innovate, accommodating different forms of meetings with a view to facilitate in-depth discussion.
Deng believes that a number of policy measures introduced at this year’s CPPCC session have significant impacts on society. An example is the industrial transformation and upgrade of the Three Northeastern Provinces, which is a large-scale research study in recent years. Many opinions and suggestions have been incorporated into the Opinions on Some Measures Intended to Accelerate the Economic Stabilization and Improvement in Northeast China formulated by the State Council, which shows the practical effectiveness of the session.
Deng said that this year’s session received a total of 5,210 proposals, of which 4,526 are put under review, offering valuable advice on different areas of social development.
Wang Yiming: Kick start a new stage of sustainable medium-to high-speed growth
Wang Yiming, Vice-President of the Development Research Centre of the State Council, pointed out that along with the ongoing supply-side structural reform, the Mainland economy is gradually stabilizing and the recovery of the Producer Price Index is leading to improvement in corporate profits, which will help improve enterprises’ investor confidence. However, structural economic imbalances still exist. Too many resources are gravitating towards real estate, leading to concurrent high property prices and high inventory levels in addition to increased financial risks. He stressed that the Mainland must adhere to the overall tone of seeking progress while ensuring stability, and continue to cut overcapacity, reduce excess inventory, deleverage, lower costs and strengthen areas of weakness to heartily kick start a new stage of sustainable medium-to high-speed growth.
Wang also has high hopes for the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. He looks forward to its achieving several functional objectives, which include: building an infrastructure system that is adaptable to regional economic and social development; becoming a platform for Mainland enterprises to “go global” and then build into a new landscape of opening up for the “Belt and Road” initiative; forming a core financial hub in the Greater Bay Area with Hong Kong as the spearhead, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Macau and Zhuhai as auxiliaries, and Nansha, Qianhai and Hengqin as nodes; building an innovation community in the Greater Bay Area to be the world’s major innovation center for the technology industry; and building the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area into a world-class green city cluster that is suitable for living, work and travel, with culture, education, employment and environmental protection as the starting point.
Shen Danyang: Grasp opportunities arising from “Belt and Road” initiative
Shen Danyang, Spokesman and Director-General of the Policy Research Department of the Ministry of Commerce, pointed out that cooperation in customs clearance with regions along the “Belt and Road” routes should be further strengthened in the future in order to effectively improve facilitation of trade and investment and step up mutual recognition and interaction with countries along the routes and construction of free-trade zone networks. He mentioned that the global industrial structure is in a period of accelerated changes, with the majority of countries along the “Belt and Road” in a period of accelerated industrialization and urbanization, and oil-producing countries and resource-rich countries in a period of structural adjustment. Countries along the “Belt and Road” routes may establish a mechanism for cooperation in production capacity with China.
Besides the above-mentioned areas, Shen pointed out that “Belt and Road” has given rise to eight new business opportunities: professional services, financial services, engineering and construction, high value-added shipping services, talent and education services, tourism services, exhibition and festival services, and upgrade of overall competitiveness. He believes that as Hong Kong’s professional services are of international and professional standards, they are its core soft power for participation in “Belt and Road”. Hong Kong’s financial, accounting, legal, shipping and tourism industries can also benefit, which brings about a win-win and mutually beneficial situation.