In this forum that will determine aspects of the future of Hong Kong, the topic on everyone's lips is the beginning of the country's 11th 5-year-plan.In his policy address a month later, chief executive Donald Tsang makes the aims set forth in the plan abundantly clear.
"Since we have returned to the motherland, Hong Kong should play a more important role in the peaceful rise of China and become actively involved in world affairs so that Hong Kong will become an international metropolis that will make us proud," said Donald Tsang, Chief executive, Hong Kong Speical administrative Region.
"Since Hong Kong's return, and in the process of it's recent development, having a clearly defined economic objective is one of the government's major achievements, " said head of the Central Policy Unit, Government of the Hong Kong Speical Administrative Region.
On March 14th, 2006, the National People's Congress gives its approval to the 11th 5-year-plan, a road map of the country's social and economic development, and for people in the street the plan provides something to look forward to in the coming years. For the first time ever, the well being of Hong Kong and Macao has been listed in a five-year plan as part of the big picture.
The plan states that the central government will support Hong Kong in its development of banking, trade, tourism, information and other services. While this may not look like much on paper, the announcement has far-reaching significance and is quickly picked up by the media in Hong Kong, which considers the association of Hong Kong with the economic growth of the rest of China as gift for the SAR as it will provide Hong Kong with plenty of further opportunities. As part of a program of action published by the Hong Kong SAR government in connection with the 11th 5-year-plan, specialists from all walks of life have submitted 50 items of policy advice and more than 200 specific recommendations. Hong Kong is now on its way to becoming one of the engines that will drive the next phase of the Chinese economic miracle. Although still operating under a different system, the future of Hong Kong has now become part of the heartbeat of the nation.
This is the first aerial survey conducted by the Lands Department for 2007, but for photographer Tommy Au it is his 200th shoot since Hong Kong's return.
The aircraft (helicopter) being used for the survey belongs to the Hong Kong SAR Government Flying Service, and in it Tommy will cover all of the territory's 1,140 square kilometers. The photographic data he collects will be used by the government in its overall planning for the region and for planning specific major construction projects, and while the word he does may appear rather repetitive, he finds it exciting to observe the changes constantly taking place in the landscape.
"Hong Kong changes so fast and we want to record all the changes.We are flying over Central District," said Tommy Au, Land Aurveyor of the lands, Department, Hong Kong SAR Government.
Most people never have the privilege of looking at the city they live in the way Tommy does. In the air above the city distance and space are turned into time, and his work can be likened to collecting items for a time capsule.
Over a period of 10 years the city has been captured through each release of the camera's shutter, frozen in time, and when photographs are compared, the transformations are obvious.
George Chan is a manager of the civil engineering department of China Overseas Holdings Limited, and today he has a specific job to do. He needs to come up with a diagram showing the number of construction projects his company has undertaken over the last 10 years, mostly between Central District and the new airport.
George Chan is proud of what does. In the 10 years since the return of Hong Kong, he has witnessed the completion of a number of major construction projects in the SAR, and all of them are important milestones in his career.
"There's one here. Another one here.Some haven't been marked before.Now we see – the airport,Tung Chung Road, Discovery Bay, Disneyland, Tsingma Bridge,Stonecutters Island,western Kowloon land reclamation,Central land reclamation– they are all landmarks that make the people of Hong Kong proud," said George Chan, General Manager of Civil Engineering Dept China State Construction Engineering (HONG KONG) LTD.
Lantau Island is now easily accessible by taking the Tung Chung cable car. The new airport is one of the largest construction projects Hong Kong has seen in 10 years. It's the kind stuff history books are made of, and Chen Weixiong is proud to be involved.
"I'm really happy to be able to take part. I fee great. It's also a splendid opportunity.I'm extremely proud to think that Hong Kong will be identified with these construction projects," said ," said George Chan, General Manager of Civil Engineering Dept China State Construction Engineering (HONG KONG) LTD.
The joyousness of Christmas 2006 can see that on the faces of the people in the streets of Hong Kong, but at this time there is more good news for the people living here. The top ten major news events of the coming year have been announced, and among them are inclusion of Hong Kong in the 11th 5-year-plan. The wellbeing of Hong Kong has become closely linked with the rest of China more than ever before, the past 12 months have been proof of Hong Kong's vibrant economy, and there are yet more things to look forward to in the year ahead.
These teenagers from the Hong Kong New Generation Cultural Association are sharing some happy moments on the banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River. Compared with most members of older generations, they have a different way of thinking about Hong Kong and have a stronger bond with the rest of the nation.
"It's beautiful. It's almost like what you see in America. It's not quite the same in Central District," said Hong Kong student.
Their next stop is Baoshan Iron and Steel. Even though the Jinmao Building and Baoshan Iron and Steel are familiar names for these students, when they get there they are still amazed by what they actually see.
"I've never been here before.The world has suddenly opened up for me.Much more than what expected," said Hong Kong student.