Leung Chun-ying, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, delivers his keynote speech on the "Mission and Role of Hong Kong in the Construction of National Image" at the International Communication In the New Era forum on May 31, 2021. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
With the National Security Law and the electoral reform in place, Hong Kong will rise again, embrace new opportunities and help the world to better understand the Chinese mainland, scholars and business leaders said at a high-level forum in Hong Kong on Monday.
Leung Chun-ying, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, delivered a keynote speech at the “International Communication in the New Era” forum and urged media organizations to allocate more resources to covering China and the rapid changes in the country.
In his keynote speech on “Mission and Role of Hong Kong in the Construction of National Image”, Leung said it was a cause for concern that the audience, more often than not, tended to get selective, patchy and sketchy coverage.
We owe it to ourselves and to the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement to reach out and speak out to the international community.
Leung Chun-ying, Vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
Leung said he believes Hong Kong has a unique mission and role in rebalancing the coverage on the Chinese mainland for an international audience.
Pointing out how Hong Kong used to be the best conduit ahead of the reform and opening up on the mainland, Leung said the city had been the single largest source of foreign investments with the best first-hand information on the country.
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Leung said the approximately 370,000 Hong Kong people residing on the mainland could each prove to be a good story source.
“We owe it to ourselves and to the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement to reach out and speak out to the international community,” he said.
The forum, held both offline in Hung Hom and online, was organized jointly by the Hong Kong Coalition, a cross-sector alliance, and Friday Culture, a multi-dimensional media company
It also featured two panel discussions – one focusing on understanding Hong Kong as a multi-faceted city and the other on how to tell China’s story in a polarized world.Ten prominent panelists from various sectors attended the panel discussions.
“For seven months in 2019, I have never seen such violence in Hong Kong. I was born here and I grew up here”, Ronnie Chan, chairman of Hang Lung Properties, told the panel on the topic “Hong Kong in the Spotlight: Understanding a Multi-faceted City” while referring to the violent protests related to the extradition law amendment bill.
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Chan said since the implementation of the national security law, people have attempted to minimize some of the differences and have more balance in their lives.
From left to right: Julien-Loic Garin,Founder and CEO, Culture Plus Asia; Ronnie Chan, Chair of Hang Lung Properties Limited; and Allan Zeman, Chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group, join a panel discussion during the “International Communication in the New Era” forum on May 31, 2021. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
He said that Hong Kong must be more economically integrated with the Chinese mainland, as there are many opportunities there, while the city also enjoys “one country, two systems.”
“That means Hong Kong has the best of both worlds,” Chan said, adding that now is right moment for Hong Kong people to rethink and do the right thing for the city to thrive again.
Allan Zeman, chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group, told the panel that Hong Kong has many different facets of life and has always been made up of expats, locals, people from the mainland and everywhere else. He said this has given a flavor to Hong Kong, which has gone through a transformation in the past 50 years.
“I can tell you as the country has gone through (a) transformation, Hong Kong only gets stronger and stronger, it is able to reinvent itself. That’s always been the beauty of Hong Kong,” said Zeman.
Going forward with patriots in charge of Hong Kong, electoral reform will only make the city "stronger and stronger" as the Legislative Council will be able to pass bills to improve the life of the people, Zeman said, adding that Hong Kong is so lucky that it is part of the most prosperous country in the world while enjoying the “one country, two systems” with Chinese characteristics.
Ronnie Chan, Chair of Hang Lung Properties Limited, speaks during the "International Communication in the New Era" forum on May 31, 2021. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
CK Yeung, former associate vice-president of Hong Kong Baptist University, said in his speech to the panel that never before in history have 1.4 billion people been so grossly misunderstood, which makes modern China the most misunderstood country in the world. He added that Hong Kong is the best understood Chinese city in the West, as Western countries shaped the financial hub.
Hong Kong has been shaped according to Western values, attitudes, systems, and institutions. And with different means of communication, news, media, education, language, and culture available, Yeung said Hong Kong is the best-placed city to explain the Chinese mainland to the West.
Julien-Loïc Garin, founder and CEO of Culture Plus Asia, said he came to Hong Kong 10 years ago to take care of the French Cultural Festival, and immediately felt welcome and saw a lot of opportunities.
“Hong Kong people have the chance to have been exposed, whether because they study there or because of the background, to the Western world. And for me that makes it very appealing as a city to work with,” Garin said.
Allan Zeman, Chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group, speaks during the "International Communication in the New Era" forum on May 31, 2021.(CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
British film director Malcolm Clarke told the panel that the rise of China is the big news story of the 21st century, adding that “We all know that the country is going to continue to rise, it will continue to be important”.
“Frankly, in my opinion, Hong Kong is very lucky to be a part of the country at this critical moment in its history. And I think if people can just bear with the new Hong Kong, our lives will become far better,” Clarke said.