November 17 - 23, 2020
Government ready for new COVID-19 wave
Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan (Nov 20) said Hong Kong may have entered into a new wave of the COVID-19 epidemic and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will continue to tighten the anti-epidemic measures. Prof Chan emphasized that the COVID-19 situation is currently severe in the city and appealed to citizens to stop all unnecessary gatherings. Currently, live performance and dancing in catering premises, clubs and nightclubs have been banned. Travelers arriving in Hong Kong must undergoing 14-day compulsory quarantine in hotels, with no visitors allowed. Consular and diplomatic officers arriving in the city are now subject to a more stringent quarantine arrangement. Testing and isolation arrangement for air crew members and other persons who are exempted from quarantine requirement have also been tightened.
Air travel bubble deferred
In view of the recent epidemic situation in Hong Kong, the inaugural flights under the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble (ATB), originally scheduled for Nov 22, will be deferred for two weeks. Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said the decision was made after a discussion between the governments of both places, adding the formal launch will be announced in due course. “In the interest of making a good start and also avoiding any confusion to passengers, we have decided to put this back for two weeks,” he said. “Doing this is necessary to avoid any inconvenience caused by the abrupt changes of the scheme to passengers, particularly those who need to return to Hong Kong in a short time.” To cope with possible fluctuation in the epidemic situation, the ATB has a built-in mechanism whereby the number of designated flights may be increased, decreased or even suspended depending on the situation. 
Chief Executive attends APEC meeting
Chief Executive Carrie Lam exchanged views with participants at the virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2020 Economic Leaders’ Meeting (Nov 20) on fighting against COVID-19, boosting economic recovery and promoting sustainable and inclusive development. Noting that COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented global challenges, Mrs Lam said it is the duty of various economies to resolutely direct the fight against the virus, with decisions based on science and people’s interests rather than political considerations. Mrs Lam stressed that reviving the economy calls for co-operation among economies and that they must stand firm against unilateralism and protectionism. Noting APEC's long-standing commitment to a rule-based, multilateral trading system fully reflects Hong Kong's belief in strong, sustainable and inclusive growth, she said she hopes various economies would work collectively to embrace the vision on the path to recovery.
Logistics sustains economic growth
With the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping the way of life, Hong Kong’s logistics sector is committed to applying smart technology, such as the use of automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things, to better meet the evolving needs, enhance operational efficiency and productivity, said Secretary for Transport & Housing Frank Chan at the Asian Logistics, Maritime and Aviation Conference (Nov 18). To this end, the HKSAR Government has rolled out a US$38 million program to encourage the sector in adopting more technology and IT solutions. Hong Kong is also expanding its express air cargo terminal, and a new premium logistics center is scheduled to start operation in 2023. Delivering the opening address at the conference (Nov 17), Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the resumption of people, goods and services is part of the measures to revive the city’s economy. Hong Kong is in discussions with authorities on the mutual exemption of compulsory quarantine for cross-boundary travelers from Macao and Guangdong Province. The Government is also boosting Hong Kong’s status as a global maritime hub with such initiatives as streamlining the issuing of exemptions for Hong Kong-registered ships and providing tax concessions for ship leasing and marine insurance. 
Greater Bay Area to create synergy
Mutual cooperation and win-win arrangement among Hong Kong, Macao and the nine Mainland cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) will contribute to a prosperous, innovative and global bay area economy, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Speaking at a GBA conference (Nov 18), Mrs Lam highlighted the principles guiding Hong Kong’s participation in the GBA. This includes adherence to the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, with Hong Kong continuing to offer its traditional advantages of an established international business environment, world-class financial and professional services, a low and simple tax regime, free flow of capital, the rule of law and judicial independence. She said innovation and technology should be at the top of the agenda, with out-of-the-box thinking in cooperation with Mainland cities, in particular Shenzhen, and a greater emphasis on supporting young people and nurturing talents. Separately, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Development Office has been set up (Nov 23) to strengthen the promotion and co-ordination work of the HKSAR Government on the GBA development.
Hong Kong SAR Government opposes joint statement
Firmly opposing the joint statement by the foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US, the HKSAR Government urges the international community and foreign governments to respect the importance attached to peace, stability and prosperity by the Hong Kong people under the principle of "One Country, Two Systems". It reiterated that the decision by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on the qualification of members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) of the HKSAR is constitutional, lawful and necessary. The Basic Law requires designated public officers including LegCo members, when assuming office, to swear to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the HKSAR in accordance with the law. Previous court rulings have confirmed that these legal prerequisites are substantive. Swearing allegiance to the system of the country and upholding laws of the state is also an international norm for public officers and any breach of the oath will not be tolerated. 
Online streaming of Hong Kong’s cultural performances
During this Thanksgiving week, there is a feast of performances by leading Hong Kong performing groups available online on the dedicated arts and culture webpage “Hong Kong Arts and Cultural Experience”. Ballet enthusiasts can watch the Hong Kong Ballet’s full performance of Nina Ananiashvili’s exuberant “Don Quixote”, streaming online for a limited time through Nov 27. Opera aficionados can tune in to excerpts of four opera classics – “Turandot”, “Aida”, “Carmen” and “Don Giovanni”, performed by Opera Hong Kong; while music-lovers can explore the different sections of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra through its “Meet Our Principals” music series. The first episode features Principal Oboe Michael Wilson performing two pieces by Schumann.
Exploring Art + Technology
Could artificial intelligence be the next frontier for traditional Chinese ink drawing? While seemingly counter-intuitive to let a robot interpret such a human-oriented artistic style, this is what acclaimed Hong Kong artist Victor Wong is doing to help bring ink art to a whole new level. Join a live-stream conversation with Wong on Dec 1 at 2:00 pm (EST) as he will discuss the relationship between art and technology, and how integrating high-tech multimedia into long-established art forms may create unprecedented breakthrough in traditional Chinese art forms. The event will be moderated by San Francisco art curator Christine Duval. To RSVP, click here.
  • Overall consumer prices in October fell 0.2% year-on-year, smaller than the corresponding decrease of 2.2% in September. Looking ahead, overall inflationary pressures should stay tame in the near term as the evolving COVID-19 pandemic still weighs on the global and local economic conditions.

  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 6.4% for the Aug – Oct period, unchanged from the preceding three-month period. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 3.8% during the period. Looking ahead, the labor market will remain under pressure in the near term as the economic outlook is still clouded by the evolving pandemic situation.
Hong Kong and its Basic Law
The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the HKSAR. Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems”.

Q: What is the role of the People’s Liberation Army in Hong Kong under the Basic Law?
A: The maintenance of public order in the HKSAR is the responsibility of the HKSAR Government. The People's Liberation Army stationed in the HKSAR is responsible for the defense of the HKSAR and does not interfere in the local affairs of the HKSAR. In addition to abiding by national laws, members of the garrison shall abide by the laws of the HKSAR. Expenditure for maintaining these military forces is borne by the CPG. (BL Article 14)
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