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Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said on Wednesday that the government will "fearlessly" move in accordance with the law against acts that advocate "Hong Kong independence".
In summarizing this year"s Policy Address to the Legislative Council, Lam emphasized the government"s firm stance on national security.
Lam said neither she nor the government will tolerate any advocacy of "independence" for Hong Kong or acts that threaten national security, sovereignty or development.
She also announced an ambitious plan to greatly increase the city"s land supply to address its housing issues.
In discussing no fewer than 250 new initiatives this year, Lam mentioned housing 84 times, compared with 45 times a year ago, making it the most frequently used word in her speech. Land was brought up 71 times, more than double the 34 times last year. Lam made land supply and housing a separate section of her speech, placing it before economy and people"s livelihoods.
"The purpose is to demonstrate clearly that the shortage of land not only directly leads to a shortage of housing, but also affects people"s quality of life," she said.
Leading Lam"s plans was a reclamation project dubbed Lantau Tomorrow Vision. The new, long-term project aims to develop artificial islands with a total area of 1700 hectares east of Lantau Island.
It is estimated it could provide residential units for 700,000 to 1.1 million people, with 70 percent being public housing, she said. The reclamation"s study and design work will start soon, with the aim of starting the first phase in 2025.
Lam said the SAR government will persevere in developing new land and building a land reserve. "The determination will never waver in the face of short-term fluctuations in the economy or the rise and fall of property prices," she said.
Lantau, the city"s largest outlying island, which hosts Hong Kong International Airport, is seen as becoming a gateway to the world and other Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area cities after the commissioning of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
Also planned are development of brownfield sites and revitalization of industrial buildings.
In addition, Lam unveiled other policies such as improving women"s rights and innovation.
The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the largest city political party in the legislature, showed its support for land and housing measures. Starry Lee Waiking, the party chairwoman, said the speech responded to the public"s expectations.
The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce called the speech "visionary" in a way that will address the city"s difficulties.
The University Grants Committee, responsible for advising the SAR government on the funding and development of higher education, welcomed the new research initiatives.
Yang Zekun contributed to this story.