MAY 18 - 24, 2021
Perfect launchpad for business
Hong Kong is a testing ground and perfect launchpad for startups, with a strong track record for helping businesses to grow and succeed, said Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau at the virtual StartmeupHK Festival 2021 (May 24), Asia’s leading annual startup event. Noting that the number of start-ups in 2020 was up an impressive 51% over 2017 at 3,360, Mr Yau said Hong Kong, with its growing innovative and technology space, offers the perfect ingredients for startups including funding, markets, infrastructure, talent, a simple tax regime, and a business-friendly environment. He also highlighted the raft of support measures the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has rolled out to help companies leverage technology to improve their businesses and the US$256 million Innovation and Technology Venture Fund to co-invest in start-ups on a matching basis with selected private venture capital funds in Hong Kong.
Doctor registration pathway mooted
The HKSAR Government will introduce the Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill 2021 into the Legislative Council (LegCo) to create a new pathway for admission of qualified overseas doctors to practice in Hong Kong. With a severe shortage of doctors in Hong Kong, Secretary for Food & Health Professor Sophia Chan said the government sees an imminent case to create a new pathway for qualified non-locally trained doctors to obtain full registration in the city. Under the Bill, a Hong Kong permanent resident possessing a recognized medical qualification as well as medical registration in the place where he/she obtains the recognized medical qualifications will be eligible for special registration in Hong Kong, provided that he/she has a full-time job offer as a medical practitioner from any of the public healthcare institutions, with good character and professional conduct. Gazetted on May 21, the bill will be introduced into LegCo on Jun 2.
Hong Kong eliminates rubella
The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed (May 21) that Hong Kong has achieved the interruption of endemic rubella virus transmission. Welcoming the WHO’s verification that Hong Kong has achieved rubella-free status, the Director of Health, Dr Constance Chan said the success is encouraging, but there is no room for complacency. “We will remain vigilant and will continue to work on closing immunity gaps in the population,” she said. The WHO considers a country/area to have eliminated rubella when there is no evidence of endemic transmission of the virus for at least 36 months, and a well-performing surveillance system is in place.
Secretary for Food & Health attends World Health Assembly
Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan took part in the 74th World Health Assembly of the WHO via video conference on May 24. Being held virtually this year, (May 24 to Jun 1), the Assembly focuses on ending the current pandemic and preventing the next one by building a healthier, safer and fairer world. Prof Chan emphasized that international co-operation has become more important than ever in putting an end to the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged the world for over a year. She urged the global community to work together to prepare for the post-pandemic era once the pandemic has subsided. “The Government will continue to maintain close co-operation with the WHO and health authorities of its member states on various fronts, in order to stay abreast of the global situation and protect the health of Hong Kong people,” she said.
New quarantine hotel list issued
A total of 31 hotels will provide about 8,500 rooms under the fourth cycle (Jun 20 to Aug 31) of the Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme for people arriving in Hong Kong from overseas. To further prevent the importation of COVID-19 cases and reduce contact between overseas arrivals and the local community, the HKSAR Government fully implemented the Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme in Dec last year, requiring all arrivals from specified places to undergo compulsory quarantine at designated quarantine hotels. A government spokesman added, "We will continue to provide more hotels offering lower room rates in this new cycle after considering the market demand.” Under the current entry requirements, non-vaccinated inbound travelers from the US are required to undergo compulsory quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel for 21 days, and 14 days for fully vaccinated travelers.
MoU on Legal Cloud Fund signed
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, SC, signed (May 12) a memorandum of understanding with the Chairman of the Asian Academy of International Law (AAIL), Dr Anthony Neoh, SC, on the administration of the Hong Kong Legal Cloud Fund. The Hong Kong Legal Cloud is an advanced and user-friendly online facility to provide safe, secure and affordable data storage services for the local legal and dispute resolution communities. The AAIL will, on a pro bono basis, administer the US$2 million fund for subsidizing eligible local legal and dispute resolution professionals to subscribe for the Hong Kong Legal Cloud services. The Fund will be used to finance the setup cost and initial operational and promotion costs through disbursement of subscription fees to the selected provider(s), for up to three years. 
Art Basel Hong Kong opens
The Art Basel Hong Kong returned to the city alongside with digital viewing room and other online programs, with over 100 leading galleries from 23 countries and territories participating. Visiting the physical fair (May 20), Chief Executive Carrie Lam pointed out that Art Basel Hong Kong, the concurrent French May Arts Festival and the UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup Hong Kong held last week have fully demonstrated Hong Kong's capability of holding major events safely amid the pandemic. She said the HKSAR Government is committed to promoting arts development and arts infrastructure investment, adding that the M+ Museum and the Hong Kong Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural, together with the expanded Hong Kong Museum of Arts, will become new cultural landmarks of Hong Kong. In addition, the East Kowloon Cultural Centre, which is under construction, is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2023, providing local artists with an incubation platform on Art Tech.
Universities’ research quality hailed
Chief Executive Carrie Lam congratulated the eight University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded universities for their outstanding performance in the results of Research Assessment Exercise 2020 announced by the committee. Mrs Lam said the exercise showed the strong capabilities of the universities in Hong Kong in basic research that support the city's development in various areas and attract talents from overseas and the Mainland and a further testimony to the internationally recognized research quality of Hong Kong. Committed to supporting research work of the higher education sector, the HKSARG has injected US$2.56 billion into the Research Endowment Fund of the UGC and set up the US$384 million Research Matching Grant Scheme to provide financial resources for universities' research activities. It has also introduced various measures to attract, retain and nurture scientific researchers including the Global STEM Professorship Scheme and is establishing the InnoHK Clusters at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park to attract world-class scientific research institutions and technology enterprises to Hong Kong. The first batch of about 20 research centers have completed the renovation of their laboratories and commenced operation progressively.
Eight prizes won at physics olympiad
A team of eight students representing Hong Kong won two gold medals, two silver medals, two bronze medals and two honorable mentions in the 21st Asian Physics Olympiad (May 17 to 24). Congratulating the team on its outstanding performance, the best in recent years, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said the impressive results demonstrated the concerted efforts of different stakeholders in promoting diversified science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. The Education Bureau has injected US$205 million into the Gifted Education Fund from 2016, and has supported 17 off-school advanced learning programs offered by different post-secondary institutions and organizations in the last two school years.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 6.4% for the period between February and April compared to the previous three-month period. Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong pointed out that labor market saw some improvement lately as the local epidemic receded. However, the business receipts of many labor-intensive sectors are still far below the pre-recession levels. He said the labor market will take time to attain a more visible recovery.
  • Overall consumer prices rose 0.7% in April year-on-year, larger than the 0.5% growth in March. Netting out the effects of the Government’s one-off relief measures, April’s underlying inflation rate went up 0.3% on a year earlier, marginally larger than the 0.2% recorded in March.
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: Does the HKSAR enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers?
A: Yes. The National People’s Congress authorizes the HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers, including that of final adjudication. The Chief Executive heads the HKSAR and the Government of the HKSAR. The Executive Council, consisting of members appointed by the Chief Executive, assists the Chief Executive in policy making. The legislature, which is constituted by election, enacts legislation, while the judiciary exercises judicial power independently free from interference. (BL Articles 2; 16; 17; 19; 43; 54; 55; 66; 68; 73; 85)

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