President Xi Jinping has issued a directive ordering state agencies to support Hong Kong's development into an international innovation and technology hub - including the transfer of national-level funding for use here. However it explicitly stated people will only be invited to participate in national-level programmes if they "love the country and Hong Kong".
The directive was prompted by an appeal by a group of Hong Kong members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who complained about their research difficulties, including barriers for them to move national research grants for use here.
The Xinhua News agency reported that President Xi ordered "timely actions" to be taken to do more to empower local talent to contribute to national science and technology initiatives, after receiving the letter.
The report said local scientists who love the country and Hong Kong will be able to participate in national science and technology programmes, and receive direct financial support. It said 16 partner labs of state laboratories based here have already been given such support.
It also quoted the president as saying that patriotic talent here are an important force in implementing the national strategy of innovation-driven development, and turning China into a country of innovators.
He added that promoting co-operation between local and mainland talent and helping Hong Kong become an international hub for innovative technology are part of the implementation of the One Country, Two Systems principle.
The SAR administration welcomed and thanked Beijing for what it describes as a "breakthrough for mainland and Hong Kong scientific research".