Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee said he had “studied the full text” of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s speech from the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, calling the parts referencing the city a “guide” for future work to be done.

john lee presser
Chief Executive John Lee speaks to the press on Oct. 17, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“The 20th National Congress report had many highlights. I was most encouraged by the report’s many mentions of One Country, Two Systems, and parts relating to Hong Kong,” Lee said during a weekly press briefing on Tuesday.

“The report also mentioned that Hong Kong and Macau need to leverage their advantages and characteristics, including boosting their standing,” Lee added, emphasising areas such as international finance, aviation and tourism.

Xi’s almost two-hour long address on Sunday, which kicked off China’s twice-a-decade Communist Party Congress, hailed Hong Kong’s restoration of order since the political unrest in 2019.

street central walking economy
A street in Central. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

Lee on Tuesday rehashed many of the points made in Xi’s speech, including the need for Hong Kong to address deep-rooted problems and “fully implement” the One Country, Two Systems framework.

“The content [in Xi’s speech] relating to Hong Kong and Macau was plentiful, and serves as an operational guide for future work,” he added.

Policy Address preview

Lee’s press briefing came a day before his Policy Address on Wednesday. The annual speech, which previews the policy agenda for the coming years, will be Lee’s first since being elected to the city’s top leadership post in an uncontested race in May.

Xi Jinping
Chinese leader Xi Jinping officiates in Hong Kong on July 1, 2022. Photo: GovHK.

He brought a copy of the address to the briefing, which he said contained policies aimed at boosting Hong Kong’s competitiveness and tackling livelihood issues. Xi made similar mentions on Sunday, as well as in a speech delivered on July 1, when he visited the city to mark the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.

The cover of the Policy Address booklet was green, a colour Lee described as representing “hope, vitality, harmony and stability.”

Lee did not reveal the contents of the address on Tuesday. Local media, however, has reported that measures designed to attract talent to Hong Kong were expected to be a focus.

john lee presser
Chief Executive John Lee speaks to the press on Oct. 17, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The leader will announce the establishment of an office that will work on enticing overseas talent to the city by offering incentives in areas such as education for their children, according to media outlets including Ming Pao and Now News.

Lawmakers from pro-Beijing party the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) said last month that Hong Kong needed to “think out of the box” when it came to encouraging skilled professionals to settle down in the city, calling on Lee to put incentives in place.

The DAB’s proposal came amid a mass exodus – seen in record high school vacancies and pension fund withdrawals – which many have attributed to the political situation and the city’s strict Covid-19 policies.

Local media outlets also reported that Lee is expected to announce plans for a new MTR line that will connect Yuen Long, in the northern part of Hong Kong, with Kowloon Tong. This would ease the burden on the Tuen Ma Line, which stretches from the western end of the New Territories to the east.

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Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.