Xia Baolong, Beijing’s top official on Hong Kong affairs, will ‘meet leaders of foreign business chambers on Monday’

Xia Baolong, Beijing’s top official on Hong Kong affairs, will ‘meet leaders of foreign business chambers on Monday’

Beijing’s top official on Hong Kong affairs will meet leaders of foreign business chambers on Monday, the Post has learned, with analysts saying the move underscores his mission to voice backing for the city while listening to economic concerns.

At least two sources said Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO), would meet the organisations at the start of the working week, with the American Chamber of Commerce among them. The invitations were understood to have been extended on Saturday.

The meeting is set to take place three days after Xia spoke to about 20 property developers and tycoons, urging them to have faith in the city and offering assurances that the “one country, two systems” governing principle would continue.

Be a bridge for public, officials: Xia Baolong to Hong Kong district councillors

Lau Siu-kai, a consultant at semi-official Beijing think tank the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said he expected Xia would meet both local and foreign business groups during his seven-day fact-finding trip in the city.

Xia would use the opportunity to express to the international business chambers Beijing’s support for Hong Kong, Lau said, arguing it would counter the “smearing” that the city had received from Western media and some commentators.

Te top Beijing official on Hong Kong affairs met property developers and tycoons on Friday. Photo: ISD

Lau noted that the Beijing official would also take the chance to listen to their concerns, which might include those about the legislation of the city’s domestic national security law, or mainland China’s economic conditions.

Consultation will end on Wednesday for the security law, which Hong Kong is required to legislate under Article 23 of the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution.

Who is Xia Baolong and what is his fact-finding visit to Hong Kong about?

“By meeting the business sector, he wants both local and international businesses to have confidence in Hong Kong’s investment environment, the country’s economic development and Hong Kong’s economic outlook,” Lau said.

Commerce sector lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, also a member of the government’s key decision-making Executive Council, said Xia’s meeting of local and international representatives in the sector showed that he paid great attention to Hong Kong’s economy and business environment.

“Xia’s visit will increase the business sector’s confidence in investing in Hong Kong in the future,” he said.

Beijing’s top official on Hong Kong on mission to plan ‘new stage of development’

Xia praised the property companies and tycoons for their role in maintaining the city’s prosperity and stability during Friday’s meeting, urging them to support Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu’s administration and contribute to the development of Hong Kong and the country with concrete action.

Among those attending the meeting and dinner were Swire Pacific chairman Guy Bradley, Sun Hung Kai Properties chairman and managing director Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, Henderson Land co-chairman Peter Lee Ka-kit, Sino Group deputy chairman Daryl Ng Win-kong and entertainment tycoon Allan Zeman.

Xia arrived in the city on Thursday and departs on Wednesday next week, when Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po unveils his latest budget blueprint.



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