Hong Kong's Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak Mei-kuen speaks to China Daily during an exclusive interview in the city, Nov 15, 2022. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong’s Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak Mei-kuen said the implementation of the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong” has created a better environment for her to adapt to her new role in cultivating the city’s youngsters and enhancing district services.
In an interview with China Daily, Mak said the principle has created a favorable political environment that helps the Hong Kong government promote its work, deliberate on political issues, and communicate with legislators in a better way.
The lawmaker-turned-official has learned this lesson the hard way. She was a legislator from 2012 to 2022 before joining the government.
“The Legislative Council was not a good place for serious political discussions and deliberations back then, especially during the social unrest. The government officers had a very hard time at work at that time,” Mak said.
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With peace and order now restored following the improvements to the electoral system and the implementation of the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong” in March last year, now is the right time for government officers to take advantage of being able to work in a better environment, which will enable them to do more for Hong Kong and to better serve Hong Kong residents.
The Legislative Council was not a good place for serious political discussions and deliberations back then, especially during the social unrest.
Alice Mak, Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, HKSAR
In March 2021, the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) of China passed the decision to improve the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which included implementing the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong”.
On July 1 this year, the Hong Kong government reformed its structure, and the Home Affairs Bureau was expanded into the Home and Youth Affairs Bureau, with responsibilities for taking care of the city’s youth and district affairs.
Mak joined the bureau in her current capacity after gaining years of experience at the district level. Before joining the government, she had worked for 26 years as a District Council member and served in the Kwai Tsing District Council for six terms. She was also formerly a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong for the Election Committee, representing the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions.
Mak said her previous work experience greatly helps her in her new position. She can better understand legislators’ demands and has smoother communication with them due to her past experience as a legislator. Serving the district for years also helped her learn how to interact with people in a better way.
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Mak, who has participated in various youth activities and worked as a youth ambassador, hopes to provide the new generation of young people with the same opportunities she had when she was young.
Mak hopes in her role as Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs to nurture a new generation of young people with aspirations and a positive mindset who can unleash their full potential to contribute to Hong Kong and the country.
She also hopes to be able to improve Hong Kong residents’ sense of happiness through different district initiatives, she added.