Even though the development plan for a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area is yet to be officially launched, public debates over Hong Kong’s role in the ambitious project have already been intense.
Unlike the New York, San Francisco and Tokyo bay areas, the major cities in China’s so-called Greater Bay Area are different from each other in terms of their systems and city developments.
The situation is further compounded by the fact that both Hong Kong and Macau are governed by their respective independent legal and administrative systems, as opposed to those of the mainland.
Given that, many people are concerned about the potential for overlapping roles and cut-throat competition among Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the days ahead, whose sizes of population and scale of economy are by and large on a par with one another.
Meanwhile, as far as the positioning of different cities in the Greater Bay Area is concerned, I believe all the cities’ relations with each other would be cooperative as well as competitive.
Apart from stressing the importance of cooperation among the 9+2 cities in the Bay Area, I think we must also pay attention to two fundamental issues: the uniqueness of Hong Kong and how to consolidate and expand the city’s strength.
Hong Kong’s uniqueness and strength lies in the fact that it is the most open city within the entire Bay Area, and that it is more integrated into the global market than any other place in the Bay Area.
The territory’s well-established legal system, freedom of expression and information, as well as its model of business practice which is in line with the best international practices, have been received well by the rest of the world.
And these core values are protected under the “one country, two systems” principle and the Basic Law.
That said, I believe the most important task lying before us is to guarantee that there would be no deviation from the firmly established policy of preserving and protecting Hong Kong’s uniqueness and freedom no matter what form of regional partnership we will be taking part in.
If Hong Kong loses its unique characteristics, its role in the Greater Bay Area plan itself will come to an end.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 8
Translation by Alan Lee with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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