Only Chief Executive Carrie Lam would deliver a three-hour Policy Address. It’s all here.
After years of complaining about a crippling shortage of land, the government has suddenly noticed all the underutilized space along the border between Yuen Long, Lo Wu, Sheung Shui and Fanling. It says it could accommodate another half-million or so homes. The resulting contiguous ‘metropolis’ (population 2.5 million) will form some sort of integration-friendly suburb in which Hong Kong’s Deep North can merge seamlessly into Shenzhen. All the signage will be in simplified characters and Pinyin, and facial-recognition robots will patrol the streets ensuring children aren’t playing online games.
It will also include a ‘technopole’ in San Tin…
…dubbed “Hong Kong’s Silicon Valley”, which would be a community for IT talent and provide a total gross floor area as big as 16½ Science Parks.
Can you imagine the Hong Kong government ever devising a way to encourage tech that isn’t a real-estate project?
Another white-elephant, because of course there’s always room for one more. This will be the Greater Bay Opportunities!!! Express Rail, linking Hung Shui Kiu to glamorous go-go Qianhai (presumably along a similar route to, or beneath, the Shenzhen Bay Bridge and on a bit further north to the much-hyped financial/tech/blah blah services cooperation hub-zone).
Carrie doesn’t usually indulge herself with little luxuries, but she couldn’t resist a spot of bureaucratic restructuring – combining various civil service departments like culture and tourism into one new ministry. It looks great on an organization chart. You, the public, will never notice any difference, we promise.
(Which reminds me of a great revelation I recently experienced. Walking in Causeway Bay, pondering the fact that pretty much only residents may, with difficulty, currently enter Hong Kong, it suddenly occurred to me that not a single person you see around you on the MTR or the street is a tourist. Amazing.)
Much of this stuff is vague and might not even happen. But one thing we can guarantee is that there’s a lot more to be done on national security – covering cybersecurity, a ban on fake news, a mega-courtroom and more. The Security Secretary, Carrie says…
“…is drawing up effective and pragmatic proposals and provisions, and formulating effective publicity programmes to prevent those who are opposed to China and attempt to destabilise Hong Kong from taking advantage of the situation to mislead the public with ill intentions.”
Not creepy at all.
The CE appeared to get close to tears towards the end of her speech (who didn’t?). Some amateur – extremely amateur – observers interpret this to mean she has chosen not to aim for a second term as CE. This is a joke. It is not for her to decide whether to ‘try’ for a second term: she will do what the CCP tells her, and that’s that. Most of us would cry if Beijing ordered us to stay in the thankless pseudo-job for another five years.