New session to be inaugurated in LegCo to ease dialogue between CE, lawmakers

A night view of Chongqing’s Hongya Cave, which is one of the most popular cultural tourism sites in China. (PENG YONG / CHINA DAILY)

John Lee Ka-chiu, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, will lead principal officials to visit the Chinese mainland city of Chongqing for three days starting on Wednesday to establish a cooperation mechanism between the two cities.

The mechanism will be the third set up by the HKSAR with Chinese municipalities directly under the central government, following ones created with Beijing and Shanghai, Lee told the weekly executive council meeting on Tuesday.

The Hong Kong delegation will include Chief Secretary for Administration Eric Chan Kwok-ki, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Algernon Yau Ying-wah, and Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Sun Dong.

They will attend the first High-Level Meeting of the First Plenary Session of the Hong Kong/Chongqing Cooperation Conference, meet with leaders of Chongqing and visit local facilities and projects, including those related to logistics, innovation and technology.

Lee said Hong Kong has emphasized cooperation and exchange with Chongqing and established the Chongqing Liaison Unit in 2012.Hong Kong is also Chongqing's largest non-local direct investor.

Chongqing has geographical advantages as it is favorably located at the intersection of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze River Economic Belt, said Lee, adding that the city is also the key strategic point for development in the country's western region.

With the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle and Hong Kong's international environment, the southwest region could bring opportunities to various sectors in the SAR, Lee added.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, Lee revealed that he will inaugurate a new "interactive question-and-answer session" in the Legislative Council to improve communication between the chief executive and lawmakers.

The first session, to be held on May 18, will focus on the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and the spirit of the nation's two sessions.

The new session will combine all the advantages of the existing Q&A session, motion debates and policy consultations to address crucial, macro and strategic problems.

At the session, legislators can ask questions and express their views, and the chief executive may respond. Council members can also raise other issues that aren't related to the theme of the meeting, he said.

Lee said he was inspired during his visit to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area last month, when he led a delegation of principal government officials and lawmakers touring four Chinese mainland cities in the Bay Area.

Lee is confident that the new arrangement would give full play to the power and value of "patriots administering Hong Kong".

Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, president of LegCo, expressed his support for the new Q&A session, vowing that all lawmakers would act as spokespersons for residents' opinions and provide advice to the SAR government.

Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the LegCo House Committee, highlighted that with the increased number of council members in the current term, it has become challenging for members to communicate with Lee. She hopes that the duration of the new session can be increased by an additional half-hour.

Doreen Kong Yuk-foon, a member of the Legislative Council for the Election Committee constituency, suggested that the new session could focus on three to four topics at a time and be held once a month.

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