Support for HK 'consistent and firm'

Support for HK 'consistent and firm'

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Sunday that the central government's stance of supporting Hong Kong's economic prosperity and social stability is consistent and firm.

Xi made the remarks when meeting Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), ahead of the APEC summit.

The president fully endorsed the work of Leung and the SAR government and encouraged the government to carry on its work.

Hong Kong's economic development is stable, Xi said. The SAR government's ruling principle of seeking changes amid stability, and its policies of improving local livelihoods, especially in public housing, poverty alleviation, retirement, environment protection and supporting the economy, among others, have won acknowledgement from Hong Kong people, he said.

The central government will consistently support the SAR government in its efforts to build a prosperous and stable Hong Kong society, Xi said.

Noting that China will host APEC next year and Hong Kong SAR will be the venue for the APEC finance ministers' meeting, Xi said the central government will communicate and coordinate with the SAR government on the issue.

Leung expressed gratitude for the central government's support.

Since taking office in July 2012, Leung's government has launched a series of policies to solve housing problems in Hong Kong, one of the world's most densely populated cities.

His policies include imposing special stamp duty, buyer's stamp duty and double stamp duty against property speculators to deal with rocketing property prices, building 75,000 public housing units by 2017 and enlarging the land supply for housing.

Late last month, the SAR government also established a new official poverty line, which is 50 per cent of the city's median household income. Around 1.31 million people, or about 20 per cent of the city's population, fall below the poverty line.

The new policy will make it easier to identify low-income families in need of subsidies.

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