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Incoming Hong Kong leader John Lee for reopening borders

Hong Kong to consider reopening borders to improve trade, sending delegations abroad to counter "fearmongering"

June 23, 2022 / 12:04 PM IST
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Incoming leader of Hong Kong, which is currently under a strict dynamic-zero Covid policy, is considering fully reopening borders to mainland China and the rest of the world in order to resume trade. 

In an interview to South China Morning Post on June 23, John Lee Ka-chiu said that he would consider interim measures such as reducing quarantine periods to minimise inconvenience caused to travellers.

The current Covid policy of the state dictates a seven day quarantine for double vaccinated travellers and a 14 day quarantine for others at designated hotels.

Lee said that he would consider implementing solutions with high margin of safety and different contingency plans.

“In 24 hours, I must have, say, 5 per cent of the whole government come out to do this or do that. That is certainty, and that is also speed,” the leader said. The city recently dealt with a fifth-wave of Covid infections.

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Lee, who will be sworn in on July 1, said that he would travel to Bangkok for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November to promote the opportunities his city represents.

“We should talk about the attraction of Hong Kong, the appeal of Hong Kong to the international world. We are a very competitive, open society with opportunities," he said.

The 64-year-old leader said that he will be sending delegations overseas to combat "fearmongering" about erosion of freedom of rights in the state.

Citing the rule of law index compiled by World Justice Project, which placed Hong Kong at 19th and the United States at 27th among the 139 nations surveyed, Lee questioned why the "threats" to freedom of other lower ranked countries in the survey were not being raised.

“We need to build a consensus that freedom is not a blank cheque to contravene the law. Freedom means that everybody operates within the confines of the law so that you can enjoy the maximum freedom.”

Addressing the affordable housing shortage crisis in the city, Lee said that he was finding innovative ways to deal with the long-persisting issue. “We have to be realistic with what we are dealing with. It’s been many years that there have been shortages of supplies of public housing,” he said.

Lee, who has been sanctioned by the US government over his role in the passage of Hongkong's national security law, said that he wanted to win the trust of the citizens through action.

(With inputs from South China Morning Post)

 
Hriday Sahjwani
first published: Jun 23, 2022 12:04 pm
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