Top Beijing official urges Hong Kong youth to seize opportunities available, again stresses central government’s support for city

“Director Xia encouraged us to work harder and grab different opportunities we have,” said Wu, who did not provide his full name.

“This opportunity was rare and exceptional, and I value it greatly. Director Xia showed interest in knowing more about the activities that Hong Kong’s youth take part in.”

Xia Baolong waves on his visit to the arts hub with other dignitaries. Photo: Elson Li

Among those attending the event with Xia were representatives from various youth groups, and participants of schemes for internships and exchanges in mainland China as well as the Strive and Rise Programme operated by the Hong Kong government.

Also attending were ambassadors of the Youth Development Commission, and representatives of the Youth Link development scheme initiated by the Home and Youth Affairs Bureau.

Sources said Xia visited the Palace Museum, which opened in the cultural district in 2022, spending an hour browsing in two galleries filled with more than 400 exhibits. Many of the items, on loan from Beijing’s Palace Museum, have not been shown in the capital before. The shows display heritage collections from the Forbidden City.

West Kowloon Cultural District Authority senior management including chairman Henry Tang Ying-yen, CEO Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee and Hong Kong Palace Museum director Louis Ng Chi-wa accompanied Xia, who was also joined by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu.

Hong Kong governing principle to be permanent feature, top Beijing official says

The Beijing official then met economists at the Chief Executive’s Office, a day before finance chief Paul Chan Mo-po delivers his budget blueprint for the coming financial year.

Another source said Xia once again underscored Beijing’s support for Hong Kong and its expectations for the city to play a key economic role for the country, a message he earlier delivered to local tycoons and business leaders during his visit.

Participants were mostly respected economists and members of the Chief Executive’s Policy Unit, who shared views on the city’s economic development strategies.

Those present included HKU deputy vice-chancellor Richard Wong Yue-chim, former Chinese University of Hong Kong vice-chancellor Lawrence Lau Juen-yee, Ba Shusong, managing director and chief China economist of stock market operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, and Professor Liu Pak-wai, a former government adviser.

Xia is expected to leave the city at 1.15pm on Wednesday via the Shenzhen Bay Port crossing.

Who is Xia Baolong and what is his fact-finding visit to Hong Kong about?

Since arriving last Thursday and visiting Hong Kong International Airport as his first stop, Xia has discussed the city’s economic and investment landscape and livelihood issues with government officials, legislators, tycoons and representatives from the media, financial sector, and business community.

Xia also held talks with the legal sector, during which the head of the Bar Association suggested the city’s proposed domestic national security law should strike a balance between defending the country’s safety and protecting residents’ rights.

On Monday, Xia spent hours meeting chamber representatives where he told them Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” governing principle would be kept as a permanent feature.

Additional reporting by Jack Deng


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