|Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive of South China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR)[For Women of China]|
Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, or Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of South China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), is a leader who upholds both the "one country, two systems" principle and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. She has also been leading Hong Kong in an effort to seize the opportunity to integrate its own development into the overall development of the country. She is a storyteller, who likes to share the successful practice of the "one country, two systems" principle to the world. She is also a female official who pays special attention to the development of Hong Kong's women. She is smart and competent, vigorous and resolute, elegant and gentle, and kind and amiable. Her love for Hong Kong is helping lead the city to a brighter future.
"There will be unlimited opportunities in the future. As part of our country, Hong Kong has a unique advantage under the principle of 'one country, two systems.' We should give better play to that advantage," Lam said during an interview earlier this year.
Lam led a 68-member delegation during the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, in Beijing, from April 25-27. The delegation attended the forum's opening ceremony and 12 sub-forums, and they discussed how Hong Kong should participate in and help boost the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
|Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor attends Boao Forum for AsiaAnnual Conference 2019. [Women of China]|
Lam gave keynote speeches during the opening ceremonies of two sub-forums . She said Hong Kong — one of the most competitive cities in the world with free and open economic concepts and a convenient geographic location — links China and countries participating in BRI. Hong Kong's world-class infrastructure provides a steady foundation for the city's role as an international financial, shipping and trade center.
Lam said Hong Kong has rich experience in city management, including management of the airport, construction and maintenance of railways, emergency services and green and sustainable development. Hong Kong's capability and experience, especially in terms of construction, are significant advantages that can benefit cultural and people- to-people exchanges, and connectivity among countries along the Belt and Road.
She stressed that countries along the Belt and Road will achieve a win-win situation. She noted the Guangdong -Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development plan is important for regional cooperation and mutual development, and it will provide a solid foundation for continued implementation of BRI. "We will make the best of our advantages to contribute to BRI," Lam said.
|Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor poses for a group photo.[Women of China]|
When she attends international forums or participates in exchanges at universities in the Chinese mainland, Lam always sees herself as a teller of Hong Kong's stories.
"Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech when he met a delegation from Hong Kong and Macao that visited Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up (last year). He asked us to tell the successful practice of the 'one country, two systems' principle in Hong Kong. Telling stories about Hong Kong is my responsibility. As a woman, I have the advantage in this regard. When I tell the international community about how I grew up to become a chief executive, how I have managed Hong Kong and how Hong Kong has successfully implemented the 'one country, two systems' principle, I can feel that they are interested in the topics, and that I win relatively high recognition," Lam said.
When she visited Tsinghua University, in Beijing, on March 6 this year, Lam talked about the latest development of Hong Kong. She said the Hong Kong SAR government planned to take advantage of the 'one country, two systems' principle, strengthen external relations, reinforce traditional industries and develop new industries to enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness. She also said Hong Kong has been focusing on advancing innovation and scientific and technological development, and the SAR government has been planning to help build Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area into an international science and technological innovation center. The attendees were all impressed by her speech.
"Women can do more, in terms of telling stories about how Hong Kong implements the 'one country, two systems' principle," Lam said. She noted Hong Kong will invite more outstanding local women to participate in international exchanges and cooperation, to display their advantages in different fields and to make greater achievements during the process of integrating Hong Kong's development into the country's overall development.
|Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor talks with students during an activity.[Women of China]|
Promoting Women's Development
During an exclusive interview with Women of China English Monthly, Lam explained how the SAR government promotes women's development, and how it advocates women's roles in integrating SAR development into China's overall development.
The SAR government has adopted multiple measures to promote women's development, and to enhance women's status, Lam said. Education is an example, she noted, adding Hong Kong's women enjoy the same right to education as men. More than half of Hong Kong's undergraduates are female. Among people aged 15 to 24, the number of women who receive higher education is higher than that of men.
Lam said she is particularly concerned about two issues — the liberation of the female workforce and women's empowerment. "We hope women, especially those who have received a higher education, will continue to work after they get married or give birth. The SAR government has implemented policies to encourage them to do so," Lam said. "We suggest expanding the maternal leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks, so mothers can have more time to take care of their infants."
The SAR government has encouraged women to work in administrative organizations, and it has created more opportunities for women to participate in social public affairs, Lam said. She hopes listed companies will have more women members on their boards of directors. That, she says, would have a long-term positive influence on the development of companies, and on the whole market.
The SAR government established the Women's Commission in 2001 to advise the government on policies and initiatives of concern to women. "I encourage and support Hong Kong's women, and the Women's Commission, (in efforts to) strengthen exchanges and cooperation with women's federations on the Chinese mainland, in terms of liberation of the female workforce and women's empowerment," Lam said.
Hong Kong has achieved gender equality in education and employment, and that provides a good opportunity for women's development, Lam said. Living in an international city, Hong Kong's women have more access to international affairs and international exchanges and cooperation, and that helps women broaden their horizons.
The SAR government should build more platforms for women's development during the process of integrating SAR development into China's overall development, and it should encourage women to do a good job in telling stories about Hong Kong, Lam added.
|Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her family [For Women of China]|
In Lam's heart, her family has an irreplaceable position. Lam became Hong Kong's permanent secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands in 2003. However, she applied for a transfer several months later, so she could work in the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, in London. Thus, she could have more time to take care of her youngest son, Joshua Lam Yeuk Hay. Lam's oldest son, Jeremy Lam Tsit Sze, recalled, "She cares about our growth. She takes care of us herself, and she never hires a domestic helper." Said Lam: "Now, my sons are grown up, and the time I spend with my family is less than before. But, when they were little, I had dinner with them every day. There were many charitable parties and fund-raising activities when I served as director of the Social Welfare Department. I declined to attend those events, because I wanted to spend more time with my children."
Lam's mother had a great influence on her. "My mother was an ordinary Chinese woman. She took good care of the seniors in our family, as well as my four siblings and I. She never complained about heavy housework and being short of money. She was firm and tenacious," Lam said. Her mother attached great significance to her children's education, though she hadn't received much education.
After Lam graduated from the University of Hong Kong, in 1980, she began working in the government. Lam has held various posts during the past 39 years. When she served as director of the Social Welfare Department, she developed the habit of reading letters from the public every weekend, so she could better understand people's concerns and needs. Regardless of the posts she has held, Lam has always held fast to her principles of serving Hong Kong residents and caring for grass-roots people.
"I shall do my utmost to uphold 'one country, two systems' and to guard our core values," Lam said in her speech to the media after she won the election of the fifth- term chief executive of China's HK SAR, on March 26, 2017. Now, Lam is leading Hong Kong residents in integrating SAR's development into China's overall development, participating in the BRI and the construction of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, promoting women's entrepreneurship and innovation and contributing to China's economic and social development.
|Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor [Women of China]|
(Women of China English Monthly May 2019 issue)