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Mourning Yuan Geng's passing

Mr Yuan Geng, former executive vice chairman of the China Merchants Group, has passed away due to illness. I am deeply sorry that I cannot attend his funeral as I am now visiting India.

In his youth, Mr Yuan bravely joined the resistance against Japanese aggression.  After China's reform and opening up, he was given the responsibility to develop the China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone in Shenzhen. In the early 1980s, I often went to Shekou to give lectures and attend seminars as a Hong Kong member of the Association of Experts For Modernization Limited. I also assisted in the land planning of the Shekou Industrial Zone.

Mr Yuan was an open-minded person with an audacious and creative mindset. He valued people and emphasised efficiency. I was truly impressed by him. Shekou Industrial Zone's talented individuals, land use and associated reforms and its open-door policy have provided valuable experience for other Mainland cities. The rapid development of Shenzhen and Shekou has also created new room for Hong Kong's economic development.

I visited Mr Yuan a few years ago. He still missed Shekou and remembered well its reform and opening up in the earlier years.

Passing on at 99 years of age, Mr Yuan had lived an extraordinary life. His life journey was a reflection of the country's fight against foreign encroachment and its progression from poverty to a well-off society. Shekou is now flourishing. May Mr Yuan rest in peace.

February 4, 2016