Hong Kong’s future secure as China set to return, exec says

With little more than three months to go before reverting to Chinese control, Hong Kong is confident it will maintain its economic prosperity and rule by law, Hong Kong’s chief representative here said Mar. 21.

Speaking at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, David Lan, principal representative of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office here, said that rule by law will definitely remain after Hong Kong reverts to Chinese sovereignty on July 1. Pessimists have been voicing concerns that Hong Kong, despite Beijing’s pledge to maintain two systems in one nation, may be integrated into the Communist system in a matter of 10 years.

That, however, is not going to be the case, Lan said.

In the mid-1980s, many people — including those in Hong Kong — predicted that Hong Kong would collapse well before 1997, but things turned out to be quite the opposite to such expectations, he said. “Look at Hong Kong today,” he said. “Business sentiment is very strong, the stock market is near its all-time high, and the real estate market is … so strong that the government has to do something to cool it down. What does it mean? As a matter of fact, everyone is now quite confident that things are going to be fine,” Lan said.

At the same time, however, he pointed out that the people of Hong Kong should not be complacent and that everyone must try to ensure that the Hong Kong Basic Law — the constitution adopted for governing post-reversion Hong Kong — will be fully implemented. “At the end of the day, it is up to the Hong Kong people, Hong Kong government and Hong Kong businesspeople to defend themselves,” he said.