In May 2018, president Xi Jinping issued instructions in response to a letter to him by 24 Hong Kong-based scientists. Xi’s reply is a milestone for Hong Kong, said Chan Ching-chuen, Hong Kong's first academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Xi has affirmed the SAR’s key role in the nation’s scientific-technology development, while also allowing for central government funding to be made accessible to scientific researchers in Hong Kong and Macao.