Macao tycoon Stanley Ho (left), accompanied by his daughter Pansy, shakes hands with Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing (right) during the centenary ceremony for the University of Hong Kong on Thursday. [Photo/Agencies]
HONG KONG – People from various quarters of the community said Vice-Premier Li Keqiang’s visit reflects the great importance the central government attaches to Hong Kong, and brings to the city a range of beneficial support measures in the trade and financial areas.
Lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the vice-premier’s whirlwind visit brought a basket of gifts, particularly the expansion of renminbi services and liberalization, said Ip.
The deputy to the National People’s Congress also said the beneficial measures included quality and price control of foodstuffs imported to Hong Kong.
“These measures reflect the central government’s care for Hong Kong,” he said.
Ip’s party colleague and lawmaker Chan Kam-lam said the vice-premier showed he is easygoing and approachable during his interaction with Hong Kong citizens.
But he is most impressed with the maximization of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement that provides Hong Kong enterprises greater opportunities in the mainland market.
“There have never before been so many beneficial measures of such magnitude that the central government has brought to Hong Kong,” he commented.
“This shows the central government has a very clear direction for the future development of Hong Kong.”
Sung Lap-kung, academic coordinator at the City University’s school of continuing and professional education, said the depth and width of the beneficial measures are a pleasant surprise welcomed by the business community.
From China’s point of view, he said, it is a strategic move to use Hong Kong as buffer and to strengthen its position as a “money pool”, at a time of growing use and importance of the renminbi, to reduce the impact of economic upheavals.
“It is a two-way arrangement that not only benefits Hong Kong but also the mainland, showing the central government still attaches great importance to Hong Kong as an international center,” he said.
In his speeches and remarks, the vice-premier has repeatedly stressed the importance of taking care of the grassroots and the under-privileged, Sung said.
He believed that would prompt Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Donald Tsang to respond to issues like housing and inflation in his next policy address.
On a personal side, the vice-premier has built an open, positive, approachable image with profundity in the minds of Hong Kong people, said Sung.