Voice in Legco
Voice in Legco - Create a Broader Stage to Help Young People’s Upward Mobility

Hong Kong is now at a stage of advancing from order toward further prosperity, and Hong Kong’s young people are precisely the key to further prosperity. All sectors of society are duty-bound to help their upward mobility.


In his important speech on 1 July last year, President Xi Jinping stated the need to show love and care to young people, specifically pointing out that “Hong Kong will prosper only when its young people thrive”. The Government has presented over 160 measures in the Youth Development Blueprint (“Blueprint”) it released recently to outline the overall vision and guiding principles for long-term youth development work, showing its resolve to address the difficulties facing Hong Kong’s young people in education, employment, entrepreneurship and home ownership, and putting into practice what President Xi said in his speech.


Leverage the country’s support while being backed by the motherland

As President Xi stated in the 20th National Congress report, “today’s young people are born at the right time as they have a very broad stage to showcase their talents and a very bright prospect to realise their dreams.” Led by the “Belt and Road” Initiative and the development of the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong has become a key economic gateway for the country to attract foreign capital and go global. Since Hong Kong’s young people are blessed with the advantages of being backed by the motherland and connected to the world, they can surely accomplish much on the world stage if they are provided with attentive, nurturing support.


To achieve upward mobility, first and foremost young people must broaden their horizons, understand the development of the country and the wider world, and cultivate the right big-picture perspective and values. As the saying goes, “reviewing the past enables us to learn about the law governing the evolution of history.” Guiding young people to correctly understand the country’s past journey through numerous difficulties toward rejuvenation can stimulate their patriotic enthusiasm and thus strengthen their national identity.


Compared to Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area offers plentiful opportunities and the Mainland’s market of 1.4 billion people is an ideal destination for young people to seek employment, entrepreneurship and upward mobility opportunities. In addition, the country, showing its utmost care for the development of Hong Kong’s young people, has included them in many of its youth development policies. Therefore, I believe that the Government needs to improve the Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme, i.e., besides offering more jobs and job types, it must also care about young people’s progress after getting hired and their willingness to stay in the Greater Bay Area for further career development. Only then can it focus on helping young people contribute to and benefit from the development of the Greater Bay Area and overall national development.


Development of eight centres and eight industries

Uneven economic development is one of the reasons why young people feel powerless and helpless as it keeps many of them from achieving their ambitions. The traditional Four Key Industries are still the pillars of Hong Kong’s economy, but such an overly singular industrial structure limits young people’s imagination about their future and space for development, so industrial transformation and diversification should no longer be merely empty talk. The “14th Five-Year” Plan’s positioning of the development of Hong Kong into “eight centres” and the Blueprint’s proposal for the development of eight key industries present a great deal of employment opportunities for young people. I hope that the Government could at the same time organize more degree programmes that match relevant industries so that young people can better connect after graduation, thus increasing the opportunities and platforms for them to showcase their abilities and achieve upward mobility. The Blueprint also mentioned to consider raising the subsidy ceiling and expanding the scope of recognised courses under the Continuing Education Fund (CEF) so that beyond the Government’s help, young people should continue their education to enhance their competitiveness.


Cater for the housing needs of young people

As having a roof over one’s head is the most basic living condition, the vast majority of Hong Kong’s young people want to own their own home, but with the current property prices, most of them have no hope of buying a home. After all, Hong Kong’s past housing policies did not take into consideration the idea of establishing a land reserve, thus inhibiting housing construction. With the recent government’s efforts to identify/produce land and roll out several housing policies, we are now seeing light at the end of the housing shortage tunnel. The development of the Northern Metropolis and the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands projects, when completed, will not only create a lot of job opportunities, but also greatly increase the supply of land. I believe that this would provide a more comfortable and spacious living space for young people. The Blueprint mentioned to expand the Youth Hostel Scheme to repurpose suitable hotels and guesthouses as youth hostels. I look to the Government urging more hotel businesses to support the scheme. However, only one youth hostel has been completed in the 10 years since the launch of the scheme. The Government should actively accelerate the construction of the remaining hostels to improve the housing ladder in order to address the concerns of young people.


Cut red tape and procedures to help youth engagement in I&T

Although harbouring entrepreneurial dreams, many young people have to choose between buying a home or starting a business due to lack of funding. Despite the Government’s great efforts in promoting innovation and technology (I&T), the success rates of application for relevant funds such as those under the HKSTP’s Incubation Programme and the Cyberport Creative Micro Fund have been declining. The Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) also takes a long time to review and approve applications for technology vouchers. I hope that the approval time could be shortened in the future.


Finally, the Blueprint stated to expand the Member Self-recommendation Scheme for Youth to increase the number of participating advisory committees from around 60 at present to no less than 180 and to establish the District Youth Community Building Committee in 18 districts. These committees will be open to young people to nominate themselves to participate in so that the voices of more young people can be heard directly by the Government. This shows that the Government attaches great importance to young people. I hope that young people could take this opportunity to develop their consciousness of being the masters of society and work harder for the country and Hong Kong.


Hong Kong has entered a stage of advancing from order toward further prosperity, and since many young Hong Kong people are geared to a global vision, conscious of the rule of law, proficient in writing in Chinese and English, and adept at speaking in Cantonese, Putonghua and English, they are precisely the key to further prosperity and the future pillars of society. Therefore, all sectors of society are duty-bound to help their upward mobility, in my view.


This is a free translation. For the exact meaning of the article, please refer to the Chinese version.

Should you have any comments on the article, please feel free to contact Mr Martin Liao.
Address : Rm 703, Legislative Council Complex, 1 Legislative Council Road, Central, Hong Kong Tel : 2576-7121
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