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UK Minister Praises HK Prosperity
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Hong Kong has enjoyed remarkable success since its return to China in 1997 and is moving towards an even brighter future, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in charge of Africa, Asia and the UN, told on Thursday.

He said the UK is enthused about Hong Kong's remarkable success since 1997. This is a real testament to the arrangements which Britain and China negotiated before the handover, and to the people of Hong Kong who have made the "one country, two systems" system work so well.

"Things did not come to a grinding halt in 1997 and things continued. Life went on," he told "Hong Kong is now stronger, more mature and knows more about its own future."

Hong Kong faced major challenges in the past decade, including the Asian financial crisis, bird flu and SARS. "Every event has led to economic or social changes in Hong Kong, but people there have survived all these difficulties. Hong Kong has enhanced its capacity to handle emergencies through these ups and downs," Mr. Brown added.

As it becomes richer, Hong Kong has realized that economic success is not the only worthy goal.  A civil-society movement has come into being, agitating about everything from the polluted air to preserving old buildings and to helping the poor.

He noted that the decade has increased Hong Kong's role as a prosperous free port, a center of international finance, trade and shipping, and a free and open economy.

Brown noted that the Chinese mainland's development has been conducive to Hong Kong's economy, and that the special administrative region has also acted as an investment platform for the mainland, bringing its technology and managing draws to attract international business.

He also admitted that competition between Hong Kong and the mainland would be inevitable in some fields, but that 90 percent of Hong Kong's economic power comes from the services industry.

"Hong Kong's development course will not be that of the mainland, it will forever adjust itself according to the needs of its market and development," he said. "The local financial market has become more resistant to attacks by international speculators since the financial crisis."

Mr. Brown told that Hong Kong is already one of the 21st Century's great cities. With its talented, optimistic and industrious people, vibrant society, free media, and fair and transparent systems of government and law, it is moving towards an even greater future.
He noted that Britain wished prosperity to Hong Kong for the next ten years and beyond, over which time Britain and Hong Kong will forge even closer links.

( by staff reporter Wang Ke, August 31, 2007)

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