Hong Kong in search of nearer integration with mainland China, Lam says By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks at a National Security Education Day ceremony in Hong Kong, China, April 15, 2021. REUTERS / Lam Yik

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s strategy to strengthen the status of the city’s global financial center is to achieve greater integration with mainland China now that Beijing has helped restore “stability” to the city, executive director Carrie Lam said on Sunday.

The contribution to China’s financial reform and opening up will give the Hong Kong economy a boost, Lam said at a financial forum in Beijing.

Many non-Chinese investors in Hong Kong are concerned about what they see as dwindling rights and freedoms in the city after Beijing passed a comprehensive national security law in response to mass protests in 2019.

The high level of autonomy of the former British colony of Beijing, including an independent judiciary, forms the foundation on which it thrives as a global hub. While many investors still view access to the vast Chinese markets as a major draw, others have reconsidered their presence in Hong Kong.

Lam said Hong Kong could play a key role in promoting China’s financial development, including facilitating the internationalization of the yuan, financing mainland businesses and providing a safe offshore haven for Chinese money.

“Hong Kong has never lacked in reforming and opening up the country, providing capital, technology and talent,” said Lam.

The city “will serve China’s needs while also boosting Hong Kong’s economy.”

Hong Kong will seize opportunities created by China’s plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macau and part of Guangdong into a development zone, Lam said.

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