Hong Kong seeks closer integration with mainland China, says Lam

Hong Kong Managing Director Carrie Lam speaks at a ceremony marking National Security Education Day in Hong Kong, China on April 15, 2021. REUTERS / Lam Yik

SHANGHAI, June 20 (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s strategy to strengthen the city’s status as a global financial hub requires greater integration with mainland China, now that Beijing has helped restore “stability” to the city , CEO Carrie Lam said on Sunday.

Contributing to China’s financial reform and opening up will breathe new life into Hong Kong’s economy, Lam said at a financial forum in Beijing.

Concerns are growing among many non-Chinese investors in Hong Kong about what they see as endangered rights and freedoms in the city after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in response to 2019 mass protests.

The former British colony’s high degree of autonomy from Beijing, including an independent judiciary, is the foundation on which it has flourished as a global hub. While many investors still view access to China’s vast markets as an important draw, others have reconsidered their presence in Hong Kong.

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

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

The city “will serve the needs of China while injecting new vigor into Hong Kong’s economy.”

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

Reporting by Samuel Shen and Marius Zaharia; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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