September 29 - October 5, 2020
Hong Kong plays key role in national development
Leveraging on Hong Kong’s unique role as a connector to the world, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government has signed over 90 cooperation agreements with the Mainland in the past three years, playing a key role in the national development of China, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the National Day Reception (Oct 1) in celebration of the 71st Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China. Mrs Lam said the government will participate more actively in the drafting of the outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan, and will seek the Central Government’s support to strengthen and enhance Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center and a global aviation hub. “We will also take forward the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area at full steam and deepen our work with Shenzhen in developing an international innovation and technology hub,” she said.
Senior judicial appointment of the Court of Final Appeal
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has accepted (Oct 5) the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission’s (JORC) advice on the appointment of Lord Patrick Hodge as non-permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal. “The presence of these esteemed non-permanent judges manifests the judicial independence of Hong Kong, helps maintain a high degree of confidence in our legal system, and allows Hong Kong to maintain strong links with other common law jurisdictions,” said Mrs Lam. Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma welcomed the acceptance by the Chief Executive of the JORC’s recommendation on the appointment of Lord Hodge. The recommended appointment of Lord Hodge will increase the number of non-permanent judges from other common law jurisdictions (Australia, Canada and the UK) from 13 to 14. Lord Hodge, a citizen of the UK, was born in Scotland in 1953. Appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996, he was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the UK in 2013.
Police handles cases in accordance with the law
In response to a statement by the US Department of State regarding the arrests made by Hong Kong Police on Oct 1, a Hong Kong SAR Government spokesman said the arrests were lawful and necessary to maintain law and order in society and protect the life and property of Hong Kong residents. “If there is evidence that anyone has violated the law, they must face justice. No one can break the law without facing consequences,” the spokesman said, adding that police have always handled and will continue to handle all cases in a fair, just and impartial manner in accordance with the law. According to the Hong Kong Bill of Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the freedoms of procession and assembly were not absolute, and might be subject to restrictions as prescribed by law in the interests of public order, public safety and the interests of others.
Government to launch iBond
The Hong Kong SAR Government will launch of the 2020 inflation-linked retail bond, or iBond, under the retail part of the Government Bond Programme for subscription by Hong Kong residents. The target issue size of the iBond will be up to US$1.2 billion. The authorities may consider increasing the issue size to a maximum of US$1.9 billion subject to market response. The iBond has a minimum denomination of US$1,282 and a tenor of three years. The subscription period will be from Oct 23 through Nov 5. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the issuance provides residents with a safe and stable investment alternative while further developing the local bond market.
Investment advisory body formed
The Hong Kong SAR Government has set up (Sep 30) a governance committee to provide strategic steering for the Hong Kong Growth Portfolio and give guidance on matters such as investment mandates and asset allocation. The Financial Secretary will chair the committee, with six non-officials who have rich experience in investment appointed as members for a term of two years, from Oct 1, 2020, to Sep 30, 2022. In his 2020-21 Budget Speech, the Financial Secretary announced that he would use part of the Future Fund to establish a new Hong Kong Growth Portfolio to make strategic investments in projects with a Hong Kong nexus, with a view to enhancing returns while reinforcing Hong Kong’s status as a financial, commercial and innovation center, and raising Hong Kong’s productivity and competitiveness in the long run.
MILA: Behind the scenes
Join the creative team and cast of Hong Kong original chamber opera, MILA for a webinar panel discussion on Tuesday, Oct 6 at 8:00 PM (New York time) to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of this production that explores the cultural richness and diversity of Hong Kong, following its North American premiere in December 2019 in New York and San Francisco. The session will be moderated by critic and journalist Ken Smith. The discussion will also include a world-premiere screening of a short documentary featuring previously unreleased behind-the-scenes footage recorded during the North American leg of the Mila journey.
Easing of boundary controls mulled
Relaxation of the boundary controls between Hong Kong and the Mainland may proceed in a gradual manner with due consideration given to the public health risks posed by COVID-19, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam (Sep 29). With the virus under good control in the Mainland, Mrs Lam said there is a scientific basis to relax the boundary controls between the two places. She emphasized that the Government is working hard on ways to fulfill the aspirations of certain Hong Kong people living on the Mainland to return to the city without being subject to the 14-day mandatory quarantine arrangement, provided that they can show a negative test of COVID-19. “We are in advanced internal discussions to find a way to facilitate such Hong Kong residents coming back,” she said.
Social distancing measures eased
In light of the latest COVID-19 situation, the Hong Kong SAR Government has eased (Oct 2) some social distancing measures by allowing religious gatherings to be held at less than half of normal capacity and lifting the cap of four persons in team sports activities. The existing mask-wearing requirement in public places and on public transport, social distancing measures in restaurants and the ban on group gatherings of more than four people continue to be in effect. The public is urged to continue to maintain awareness of epidemic prevention when resuming social and economic activities, and to continue to maintain personal and environmental hygiene with a view to preventing another outbreak in the community.
  • The Hong Kong SAR Government recorded a cumulative year-to-date deficit of US$29.8 billion for the five-months ending Aug 31. Fiscal reserves stood at HK$927.7 billion (US$118.9 billion) as at August 31, 2020.

  • August’s total retail sales, provisionally estimated at US$3.2 billion, fell 13.1% year-on-year. After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales dropped 13.4% year-on-year.
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: Have Hong Kong’s capitalist system and way of life been preserved?
A: The Basic Law provides that the capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged. Hong Kong maintains a free and open market economy with a free flow of capital, goods, intangible assets, and a freely convertible currency. People's lifestyle remains the same as before. (BL Articles 5; 112; 115)
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