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Carrie Lam: Hong Kong seeking closer integration with mainland China

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks at a ceremony marking the National Security Education Day in Hong Kong, China April 15, 2021. REUTERS-Lam Yik

Hong Kong’s strategy to strengthen the city’s global financial hub status is through greater integration with mainland China, now that Beijing has helped restore “stability” in the city, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Sunday.

Contributing to China’s financial reform and opening will inject fresh vigour into Hong Kong’s economy, Lam told a financial forum in Beijing.

Worries have been growing among many non-Chinese investors in Hong Kong over what they see as vanishing rights and freedoms in the city after Beijing’s imposition of a sweeping national security law in response to mass 2019 protests.

The former British colony’s high degree of autonomy from Beijing, including an independent judiciary, form the bedrock on which it has flourished as a global hub. While many investors still see access to the vast China markets as an important draw, others have been reconsidering their presence in Hong Kong.

Lam said Hong Kong can play key roles in promoting China’s financial development, including facilitating yuan internationalisation, helping finance mainland companies, and providing an offshore safe haven for Chinese money.

“Hong Kong has never been absent from the country’s reform and opening, providing capital, technology and talents,” Lam said.

The city “will serve China’s needs while injecting fresh vigour into Hong Kong’s economy.”

Hong Kong will embrace opportunities created by China’s plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macau and part of Guangdong in a development zone, Lam said.

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