Hong Kong and Greater Bay Area: integration is the key to growth

A night view of Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China, August 11, 2021. /VCG

A night view of Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China, August 11, 2021. /VCG

Editor’s note: Zhu Zheng is an assistant professor specializing in constitutional law and politics at the China University of Political Science and Law. The article reflects the opinion of the author, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

July 1, 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). A series of events will be organized to celebrate this anniversary. Centuries-old Chinese imperial ceramics from the Imperial Museum in Beijing will be on display in an exhibition at the brand new Palace Museum of Hong Kong.

Over the years, the implementation of “One Country, Two Systems” has enabled Hong Kong to meet the challenges and maintain its status as a global financial and trade hub. At the same time, a set of economic and administrative measures have been put in place in recent years to consolidate the economically advantageous position of the city.

In order to facilitate its integration with mainland China, Hong Kong, for example, has reached an agreement with the neighboring province of Guangdong and the special administrative region of Macau on the establishment of a cooperation mechanism.

This Greater Bay Area (GBA) plan was unveiled in 2017. Five years later, it has established Hong Kong as an international metropolis playing a vital role in moving the entire region forward.

As Hong Kong SAR Director General Carrie Lam has pointed out, Hong Kong’s stability, prosperity and opportunity depend on how the city fits into “national development”, and more specifically into the GBA.

The agreement signed by the three aforementioned parties, which outlines the main lines guiding the development of the GBA, covers the period from 2017 to 2022 in the immediate term and extends until 2035 in the long term. In a broad sense, the GBA was to be by 2022 a first-class international bay and a dynamic and highly innovative world-class city cluster with an optimized industrial structure, where smooth circulation of various factors and a pleasant ecological environment l environment must basically be formed. This is indeed what is happening in the region.

In 2021, the GDP of the entire Bay Area reached 12.6 trillion Chinese yuan ($1.9 trillion) and regional cities such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Foshan and Dongguan well-performed in economic development – the five cities surpassing the annual GDP threshold of one trillion Chinese yuan ($0.15 trillion) – cooperation among GBA members is now deepened and regional developments brought to a new level.

Pedestrians walk along a footbridge in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province, Oct. 12, 2021. /VCG

Pedestrians walk along a footbridge in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province, Oct. 12, 2021. /VCG

Along with rapid economic growth, the GBA has also seen unprecedented urban expansions. In recent years, the total area has expanded to about 56,000 square kilometers. Due to its industrial strength, advanced infrastructure and vast human resources, GBA is now an ideal place to implement smart city solutions – a “one-hour life circle” with excellent services public has been successfully established.

Of course, rapid urban growth has led to serious environmental and air pollution, but concrete measures have been taken to mitigate the consequences. For example, a cooperation protocol was signed in November 2018 by relevant institutions and universities in the region to promote an application of building retrocommissioning to improve energy savings.

Additionally, on April 29, 2020, the China Meteorological Administration promulgated a plan for the GBA (2020-2035) to further strengthen meteorological cooperation among cities in the region. This includes data sharing, research and innovation, and training of meteorological personnel. Such cooperation would undoubtedly contribute to improving meteorological services.

In order to facilitate the study, work and life of Hong Kong people in the GBA, the Hong Kong SAR government and its counterparts in the region are making joint efforts to transform the urban group into a quality life circle. . This is conducive to those who wish to seize the opportunities offered by this key national development strategy.

By taking advantage of Hong Kong’s unique strengths under “One Country, Two Systems” and the unwavering support of the central government, exchanges between Hong Kong and the GBA will be greatly enhanced; Hong Kong is poised to usher in a brighter future in the next quarter century.

(If you would like to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com. Follow @thouse_opinions Twitter for the latest comments in the CGTN Reviews section.)

About Michael G. Walter

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