Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, attends a meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and delivers an important speech, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Hong Kong, south China, July 1, 2022. (YAO DAWEI / XINHUA)

President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hong Kong on July 1 to mark the 25th anniversary of the city’s return to the motherland was the most important event relating to the Special Administrative Region government’s work in 2022, according to SAR residents.

An annual citywide campaign had invited residents to pick the 10 most important events in Hong Kong last year out of a total of 20 entries, and the community’s learning and implementation of the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was selected as the second most important event in the city.

The chief executive election, held on May 8, 2022, for the 6th term of the chief executive, was the third most important event as it marked a milestone in the full implementation of “patriots administering Hong Kong”

The chief executive election, held on May 8, 2022, for the 6th term of the chief executive, was the third most important event as it marked a milestone in the full implementation of “patriots administering Hong Kong”.

The campaign was initiated by Wen Wei Po and coorganized by 23 local media groups, including China Daily, Ta Kung Pao, Hong Kong China News Agency, and 55 local organizations, including the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Hong Kong Industries. Since its launch in 1998, the campaign has been successfully held for 24 years and serves to bridge the government with residents.

According to this year’s results, Hong Kong residents highlighted the city’s cultural development — the opening of the Hong Kong Palace Museum on July 3, with 900 national treasures on loan from Beijing on display — as the fourth most significant event of 2022. 

Residents in 2022 were also concerned about livelihood issues, and listed initiatives to address the housing supply problem as the fifth most important event.

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In its maiden policy address, the current HKSAR government proposed introducing Light Public Housing, with about 30,000 units to be built in the coming five years, to shorten the waiting time for housing from six years to 4.5 years in four years. It also pledged to introduce a new pilot scheme for Private Developer Participation in Subsidised Housing Development, selling flats to eligible persons at a specified discount rate from the market price.

Residents listed the improvement of the transportation system as the sixth most important event in 2022. The cross-harbor extension to the East Rail Line began operations on May 15, further linking the Harbor Metropolis with the Northern Metropolis and promoting the integration of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The Third Runway at Hong Kong International Airport started operation on July 8, 2022, strengthening Hong Kong’s status as an international aviation hub. Both of these events attracted extensive public attention.

The government’s addition of two policy bureaus and three deputy secretaries; and its enhancement of national education — by extending the coverage of the Basic Law Test and funding kindergartens to hold activities — were selected as the seventh and eighth most important events, respectively.

Other events included the request of the SAR government to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee for an interpretation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, and the government’s lifting of travel restrictions and its relaxation of anti-pandemic measures.

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In late September 2022, Hong Kong scrapped its COVID-19 hotel quarantine policy for all arrivals. Under the new policy, travelers were only required to undergo three days of health monitoring instead of three days of quarantine plus four days of health monitoring after arriving in Hong Kong. This initiative quickly stimulated Hong Kong’s economic activities and allowed the city to host many large-scale international events, signaling Hong Kong’s return to the world stage.