Last year’s Occupy civil disobedience campaign, which lasted for 79 days, has been blamed by government officials and the pro-establishment camp for Hong Kong’s current economic malaise.
However, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor sees it differently.
The pro-democracy protests had “negligible” impact on the territory’s business environment and confidence, Apple Daily quoted Lam as saying.
Lam said she had been told by some of her foreign friends their confidence in Hong Kong had not been negatively affected by the protests.
In fact, their confidence was boosted by the excellent way the authorities dealt with the massive protest movement, she said during a luncheon at the two-day Hong Kong Forum.
The forum, which ended on Wednesday, was jointly organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide.
“I think confidence toward Hong Kong has not been affected at all,” Lam said.
While admitting that Hong Kong’s politics have been affected by the movement, Lam said people should look at the bright side.
More young people are enthusiastic about political affairs, she said, adding the government will seize the opportunity to reach out to them and cultivate their talent.
Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan doubted whether the chief secretary meant what she said, noting that she was simply promoting Hong Kong in front of foreign business representatives who came to the forum.
In her speech, Lam said Hong Kong must differentiate itself from other major cities in the mainland by maintaining its uniqueness under the “one country, two systems” principle.
She said the city’s core values, including judicial independence, free market, and freedom of the press, are very important in maintaining its competitiveness.
Asked whether the expected opening of the Shanghai Disneyland Park next year will affect the local tourism industry, Lam said Hong Kong’s own Disneyland will have to face the challenge posed by the declining number of overseas visitors even without its Shanghai counterpart.
She added that the development of mainland cities is a wake-up call for Hong Kong.
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