Lee eyes more cross-sector ties to address HK social welfare concerns

Armstrong Lee Hon-cheung, member of the Council of Lingnan University and managing director of Worldwide Consulting Group. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Editor's note: China Daily has been talking to different people from various sectors about the first polls held under the improved electoral system. Member of the Council of Lingnan University Armstrong Lee Hon-cheung stepped forward.

Armstrong Lee Hon-cheung, member of the Council of Lingnan University and managing director of Worldwide Consulting Group, won a seat on the social welfare subsector of the Election Committee elections held on Sunday.

On Wednesday, Lee shared with China Daily his thoughts on the city's electoral overhaul and his expectations for the social welfare sector. Here's what he said:

1. What do you think of the significance of the elections on Sunday?

The 2021 Election Committee Subsector Ordinary Elections were the first elections held after Hong Kong's electoral reform as well as a full implementation of the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong". The success of the elections is of great significance to Hong Kong and all members of the public. It has laid a solid foundation for the city's two important upcoming elections, the Legislative Council general election scheduled in December this year and the chief executive election in March 2022.

2. What changes do you expect the revamped elections will bring to the sector you competed for?

The subsector will be more balanced in representation as members and candidates come from a wider variety of backgrounds, such as registered social workers, scholars, NGO volunteers, advisors/board members/management of social welfare organizations, and members of social welfare statutory bodies. All stakeholders in the social welfare sector can be better engaged in the sector's work and there will be more cross-sector cooperation.

Citizens queue to enter a polling station at the Sha Tin Town Hall in Hong Kong, Sept 19, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

3. What are your expectations for the Election Committee members when they (including you) discharge their duties, especially for the social welfare subsector?

The Election Committee members are expected to select visionary, capable and patriotic candidates for the LegCo elections and the chief executive election. As a member of the social welfare subsector, I hope the candidates who run for either the LegCo elections or CE election can proactively respond to the following demands:

A. Unite the city's social welfare organizations of all sizes and strive to improve people's livelihood issues, such as housing, employment, healthcare and income inequality;

B. Increase the amount of funding granted to social welfare organizations, provide them working space, and improve staffing systems of various types of jobs;

C. Reactivate long-term social welfare planning work and support the city's social welfare organizations to take part in and contribute to the development of social welfare services in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area;

D. Pay extra attention to small nongovernmental organizations;

E. Look into introducing the concept of "Welfare Financing" to the sector in a bid to provide diverse sources of funds to render the city better social welfare service.

4. Do you think the new election committee will also influence Hong Kong's integration into national development? How? What kind of Hong Kong do you foresee under the improved electoral system?

Under the improved electoral system, politicians who attempt to undermine "one country, two systems" and hurt Hong Kong's fundamental interests are excluded from Hong Kong's governance and political ecosystem. It is as if the "malignant tumor" has been removed for Hong Kong. It will make Hong Kong stronger and develop in a more healthy way.

More proper proposals and policies, which support Hong Kong to more proactively integrate into the development of the Greater Bay Area, will be formulated.

Hong Kong's future governance team will also be able to concentrate on solving various contradictions in Hong Kong's development, focus on improving people's livelihoods, boost economic and social development, and promote Hong Kong's real stability and prosperity.