Top Beijing official says Hong Kong, Macau will play key role in China’s ‘dual circulation’ economic strategy

Tony Cheung
·3-min read

A top Beijing official has said Hong Kong and Macau will play an important role in China’s new flagship economic strategy to harness the power of its domestic market while insulating it from geopolitical tensions.

Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, also singled out the Macau government for being proactive in controlling the coronavirus crisis, with Beijing’s support.

“The vast majority of Macau compatriots understand more and more deeply that the motherland is its strongest backer, and ‘one country, two systems’ is the best system for maintaining Macau’s long-term prosperity and stability,” he told a science forum on Tuesday.

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“Hong Kong and Macau are the focal points of ‘dual circulation’. Whether it is to integrate into the internal circulation, or the international circulation, both cities have many unique strengths, and can play their parts.”

Zhang Xiaoming is deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, China’s top body overseeing Hong Kong. Photo: SCMP
Zhang Xiaoming is deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, China’s top body overseeing Hong Kong. Photo: SCMP

Zhang was referring to the plan announced by President Xi Jinping in May to focus more on the domestic market to help the country better navigate an increasingly unstable and hostile world, while also remaining part of the global economy.

At the opening ceremony of the First Conference of the International Science, Technology and Innovation Forum of Boao Forum for Asia in Macau, Zhang also noted Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng’s promise to Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor at their meeting last week that the central government would support the city in maintaining its long-term prosperity and stability.

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Reading out a congratulatory message from Xi Jinping, former Macau chief executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah, now a vice-chairman of China’s top advisory body, described technology as an “important force” as the world tackled the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“On technological innovation, China is willing to strengthen its cooperation and exchanges with various countries, to push forward a global economic recovery,” Ho quoted Xi as saying.

In a video message broadcast at the ceremony, vice-premier Han said China would seek to promote a model of international technological exchange that was “more open, tolerant, and mutually beneficial”.

“We are willing to work with various countries to protect multilateralism, and we oppose protectionism and unilateralism,” said Han, adding countries must not keep their intellectual achievements to themselves.

“Rather than creating or widening a technological gap [among nations] ... We need to strengthen the sharing of the fruits of innovation.”

At the ceremony, Lam said Hong Kong would be rolling out new policies to promote innovation, as Beijing sought to turn the city into an international technological hub.

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