«Letter to Hong Kong» the Chief Executive

October 16, 2011

My fellow citizens,

     This week I delivered my fifth and last Policy Address as Chief Executive.

     It bears the title "From Strength to Strength".

     What I have tried to do is build on our past achievements, and add new initiatives, in order to help Hong Kong face the future with confidence.  

     I announced new plans to help people achieve their housing goals, and to provide new land and opportunities for ongoing city development and urban renewal.

     There are new initiatives to provide better care for our elderly citizens and to keep them active and engaged. We will do more to look after the less fortunate.

     And, we will continue to enhance economic development, boost education and training, provide more job opportunities and help lift living standards across the board.

     Indeed, all my policy pledges over the past five years have been geared towards making Hong Kong a better place to live and work.

     My major concern has always been - and always will be - the welfare of Hong Kong people.  

     As I look back over the past five Policy Addresses, I am both humbled and proud.

     I am humbled that I have been able to serve the people of Hong Kong and, along with my team, help shape the future development of this great city.

     I am proud because, regardless of the challenges we have faced, Hong Kong people have always displayed remarkable common sense in resolving difficulties and incredible resilience in overcoming adversity.

     Anybody in a leadership role will know that you are only as good as the team you lead. The people of Hong Kong are the greatest team that anybody can hope for.

     We've certainly achieved much over the past five years, not to mention the progress we have made since reunification in 1997.

     But if you ask me to pick out one thing that stands out, I would have to say it is the resilience of Hong Kong people.

     This has been a Hong Kong trait for decades. As a small and open economy fully plugged into the global village, we have always been affected by events, developments and crises beyond our control.

     But because of the resilience, pragmatism and flexibility of our society, we have always managed to turn adversity to our advantage.

     Resilience builds strength, which in turn builds confidence. The greater the challenges we have faced, the greater our resolve and commitment has been to overcome them.

     Reunification in 1997 only strengthened that resolve.

     For the first time in our history, Hong Kong people have been able to chart our own course under "One Country, Two Systems", and with all of our rights and freedoms guaranteed and protected in the Basic Law. The future is in our hands.

     That is why the promise of "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" has been taken to heart and fostered a much deeper sense of purpose and community, as well as a more demanding and active civil society.

     Just think of what we have overcome in the past 14 years - the Asian financial crisis, the collapse of the property market, prolonged deflation, avian flu, the bursting of the dotcom bubble, the fight against terrorism, SARS, swine flu and the global financial crisis.

     And think of what we have achieved as a community.

     Our political scene is much more active - which in turn makes the government more responsive. Policymaking is more transparent. We have embarked on the road to universal suffrage. We have gained valuable experience in crisis management. We have continued to invest in infrastructure to create jobs and upgrade our cityscape. We have reinforced our traditional economic strengths in finance, logistics, business services and tourism. And we have looked for new ways to create growth and job opportunities with six industries where we enjoy a clear advantage.

     All of this is the result of the community's high expectations about the future and our determination to build a better home and a better future.  

     Our younger people, rightly, have very high expectations of the Government because, after all, the future belongs to them.

     That is why education and training sit at the top of our policy agenda - we will do all we can to ensure that our young people are equipped with the knowledge and skills to excel in whatever field they choose and to take Hong Kong to even higher levels of achievement.

     Hong Kong has thrived because we have been able to absorb, adapt and transform the best of what the world has to offer and combine it with our Chinese culture and heritage.

     Our young people now have more global links and more information than at any time - and are living in the most modern and globally connected city in China.

     It is my heartfelt wish for our youth and young people to seize all the opportunities we have here in Hong Kong as China's global financial and business services centre.

     I want our young people to make their mark - to create and innovate, to explore new markets, to pursue excellence, and to boost the quality of service that we offer across the board in government, in private enterprise and as a global economy.

     From what I have seen and experienced myself, I am sure that our young people, like the generations before them, all have the same determination and resilience to shape a better Hong Kong.

     And I am certain that when we all work together with the same Hong Kong spirit, we will definitely go from strength to strength.


  Donald TSANG Yam-kuen  
Donald TSANG Yam-kuen,
Chief Executive