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Balancing act:  Chief Secretary Henry Tang says the Government must take the initiative in leading society to discuss issues and create consensus.

Legislative Council

The Legislative Council's main functions are to enact laws, control public expenditure, and monitor the work of the Government.

Chief Secretary

The Chief Secretary for Administration assists the Chief Executive in supervising the policy bureaux as directed by him and plays a key role in ensuring coordination in policy formulation and implementation.

Gov't strives to meet public aspirations: CS

October 10, 2010

Hong Kong’s economic and political environment has been evolving quickly over the past two decades, triggering confusion and pressure within society. Chief Secretary Henry Tang tells it is vital for the Government to ensure governance moves with the times and meets public expectations.


Hong Kong has matured from a developing economy into a developed economy, leaving some people - particularly the working class - feeling somewhat displaced.


“The service industries have replaced manufacturing as the core industry, and now we need to move higher up the value chain as our Mainland counterparts develop their own services sector. A lot of people have to learn new skills to keep abreast of new developments. That puts pressure on them,” he said.


The political environment is also evolving, a process that began in the early 1990s when the Legislative Council introduced councillors returned through direct elections.


“Hong Kong people have been learning on the path to democracy. We learn about our rights as well as our responsibilities, though the road to democracy has not always been smooth,” he said.


As Hong Kong's transformation continues on several fronts, the Government is also adjusting its role to satisfy the community's growing aspirations.


Great expectations

“People demand more than economic development. They want balanced development among different aspects such as society, livelihood, environment and preservation of this city’s past. Thus they expect the Government to play a bigger role,” he said.


“Our main function is to protect the core values of our society - human rights, the rule of law, freedom, democracy, openness and a corruption-free society. And we also need to carefully allocate public resources and resolve conflicting interests between different sectors. People want us to lead, to listen to them, to forge consensus. "


Caring for the disadvantaged

In striving for society's balanced development, the Government must do as much as it can to help the underprivileged, Mr Tang said.


A major concern in society is the expanding gap between the rich and the poor. To help narrow that chasm, the Government facilitates job creation and initiatives to help the needy.


“The underprivileged include not only the poor but also people who are physically or mentally challenged, seniors and ethnic minorities. The Government plays a vital role in helping them. By helping them I mean enabling them to help themselves so that eventually they can help others,” he said.


For example, to encourage people living in remote districts to go further afield to work, the Government introduced a transport support scheme to subsidise the costs of commuting.


The Child Development Fund is another initiative which effectively consolidates resources from the family, the private sector, the community and the Government to support children from a disadvantaged background.


Mr Tang said everyone in the community can play a role in helping the less fortunate.  He saw great potential in pooling financial resources and contributions from many kind-hearted individuals in the community, including those from the business sector, to form a joint venture to help those in need.


“It is our job to come up with ways to make the best use of resources," he said, "so we can work together to achieve our common goals.”


Building consensus

The public needs to see the Government as open, fair and just, so it must take the initiative in leading society to discuss issues and create consensus.


When facing differences and conflicts, Mr Tang said everyone should adopt an understanding attitude and the overall interest of the community should always come first.  


“We need to make people understand the philosophy and intent behind our policies. It is normal to have different opinions in society. It takes mutual respect and compromise to make things happen,” he said.


“A good example is the passing of the 2012 constitutional reform package. Its significance is that we could put aside differences to seek common ground.”