3rd December 2023 – (Hong Kong) In a recent radio program today, Anthony Cheung, former Secretary for Transport and Housing in Hong Kong, expressed that while Hong Kong has returned to a state of normalcy three years after the pandemic, its economy has yet to fully recover. Cheung emphasized that although the city’s fundamental strengths remain unchanged and it has resumed hosting international events, the process of recovery will still require time. He noted that Hong Kong’s reopening and resumption of cross-border travel has lagged behind countries in Southeast Asia like Singapore. Furthermore, the consumption patterns of both citizens and tourists are undergoing a transformation, while the global economy has performed worse than initially predicted at the start of the year. In light of these challenges, Hong Kong needs to proactively plan for additional impacts.
Cheung also highlighted that Hong Kong faces geopolitical and internal political challenges, which have resulted in negative assessments from Western media. To counter this, he stressed the importance of reinforcing the display of Hong Kong’s institutional advantages such as freedom, openness, and diversity, as well as leveraging market forces to dispel concerns from external parties. Cheung further mentioned that the government should strategically engage with Western media to avoid misunderstandings about restrictions on press freedom, ensuring that it is not perceived as allowing only positive news coverage while disregarding negative aspects. It is crucial to exhibit a willingness to acknowledge shortcomings and not overreact to criticism, thereby avoiding a polarisation of politics and the emergence of extreme views.
According to Cheung, a comprehensive approach is needed to address the challenges faced by Hong Kong in its post-pandemic recovery. By recognising the impact of external factors and making well-thought-out plans, the city can navigate the path to economic revitalisation more effectively.