The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, on Wednesday said that Greater Bay Area (GBA) will be like Wall Street and Silicon Valley combined, as she dismissed concerns that the project will see Hong Kong give up its leading role in the region.
During her monthly question-and-answer session in Legco, Lam said the plan will be beneficial to all the cities featured in the blueprint.
"The GBA is like the equivalent of Silicon Valley and Wall Street added together. So we are working towards that direction and will implement the initiatives of the GBA," she said. "We are not aiming to have vicious competition and it is neither that we are just trying to dovetail the development of GBA."
Many pro-democracy lawmakers expressed concerns about the blueprint. IT sector lawmaker Charles Mok and Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said they feared the plan would lead to a brain drain from the city.
Lam was also grilled about the government's proposed legal changes which would allow fugitives in Hong Kong to be surrendered to other jurisdictions, including the mainland.
Wu said the changes would see Beijing asking for the arrest of anyone it dislikes and recalled that a Canadian businessman was arrested by the mainland authorities recently. "In future, if Beijing asks to arrest someone, will you dare to reject that request?" he asked.
Lam played down the fears raised by Wu and asked lawmakers to closely study the changes proposed to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance.
Wu then interjected, asking if, as the CE, she would quickly extradite suspects on Beijing's request. Lam told him that the role of the CE was only to trigger the procedure. But as she was interrupted again, Legco president Andrew Leung then moved on to the next question.