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Zhuhai Hengqin Development Series - 4
Bulletin on the latest developments of the Hengqin New Area

Photo: Panoramic view of the University of Macau.

HKTDC and the Zhuhai municipal government signed an agreement on strengthening strategic cooperation in February 2012. After a recent tour of the Hengqin New Area and visit to its Administrative Committee, the HKTDC Shenzhen Office files this report on the latest developments of Hengqin:

I. Rmb600 million to build an ecological island

 Photo: Construction site of the new University of Macau campus.
 Construction site of the new University of Macau campus.
Building itself into an "ecological island" suitable for both living and work is one of the goals for the development of Hengqin New Area. In its development, Hengqin will embrace a long-term vision and adopt a scientific approach to ensure the good coordination of development and ecological protection and the realisation of the goal of building an "ecological island".

(1) Compilation of the Hengqin Marine Ecosystem Restoration Plan was completed through a global tender exercise. The Hengqin ecosystem restoration area will cover two wetlands with a combined area of 392 hectares. Of these, Mangzhou will have an area of 60 hectares and Erjingwan will have an area of 332 hectares. The plan will be implemented in stages with the goal of building a world-class wetland park and bird sanctuary.

(2) Hengqin's marine ecosystem restoration project officially kicked off in November 2011 with total planned investment amounting to Rmb600 million. So far Rmb40 million has been injected into the project. Completed items included the 2,000 sqm Hengqin Marine Ecosystem Restoration Exhibition Hall, the cleaning up of 300,000 sqm of banana groves and the planting of more than 120,000 trees of 16 species of true mangroves, minor mangroves and mangrove associates, including sonneratia caseolaris, kandelia candel, aegiceras corniculatum, ochna serulata (Mickey Mouse Plant), heritiera littoralis and hibiscus tiliaceus. Also completed were a 300m walkway and pontoon and a 600 sqm waterfront platform and observation deck.

(3) Hengqin will make an all-out effort to achieve the goal of building itself into an "ecological island" with due attention to development and ecological protection. The Erjingwan fish pond will be converted into a major nature reserve and bird paradise, the Jiaoji fish pond will be turned into a static wetland tourism area, while the marine park will be transformed into a dynamic wetland tourism area and management services area.

II. Agreement of friendship and cooperation with Qianhai and Nansha

Photo: Construction in full swing. 
Construction in full swing. 
The Nansha New Area of Guangzhou, Qianhai Cooperation Zone of Shenzhen and Hengqin New Area of Zhuhai signed in Nansha the Nansha-Qianhai-Hengqin Friendship and Cooperation Agreement on 7 May 2012. According to this agreement, the three places will improve upon their innovative cooperation mechanism, establish three-way ties of regional cooperation featuring win-win cooperation and coordinated development, explore new models for economic development in China, and join hands to build a new carrier for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau cooperation and a core area with the greatest vitality and competitiveness in the Pearl River Delta.

(1) Establish a long-acting mechanism for three-way cooperation

First, efforts will be made to strengthen multi-tier exchange, cooperation and coordination among the three places and make joint efforts at high-level planning, high-efficiency construction and high-speed development for the three places. Second, efforts will be made to strengthen communication, information exchange and resource-sharing in such areas as industrial positioning and layout, planning and construction, land utilisation, policies and measures, and social management to achieve win-win cooperation and coordinated and staggered development. Third, efforts will be made to discuss how the three places can cooperate and exchange experience with Hong Kong and Macau, draw on the management concepts and advanced experience of Hong Kong and Macau in the management of social affairs and in their rules of running business, and establish an internationalised business environment. Fourth, efforts will also be made to strengthen mutual exchanges by organising the cadres of the three places to learn from each other each year. Fifth, efforts will also be made to organise one's employment units to take part in job recruitments in the other two places at irregular intervals in the light of actual needs and regularly publish job information in one another's job markets, so that the three places can share their job market concessions and information resources.

(2) Work together to boost Guangdong's transformation and upgrade

It is hoped that after the signing of the Agreement, the three places will, in their ties of cooperation, continuously make new headway in early and pilot implementation and the establishment of scientific development models and become the "iron triangle" for mutual learning and common improvement. In their economic ties, it is hoped that they will be able to continuously make new accomplishments in promoting Guangdong's transformation and upgrading and building of a new platform for strategic development and become a "silver triangle" in complementary economic development for mutual benefit and win-win outcome. In their common objective, it is hoped that they will be able to continuously open up new prospects in the historical process of strengthening Hong Kong-Macau cooperation and promoting the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau and become a "golden triangle" that shines with the radiance of the common home of the Chinese nation.

(3) Staggered development and win-win cooperation

As three strategic "pawns" in the PRD region, Nansha, Qianhai and Hengqin shoulder the important mission of leading innovations. It is hoped that they will make good, adequate and flexible use of the platform of their joint committee to strengthen mutual learning, exchanges and brain-storming, achieve common grounds in industries, policies and Hong Kong-Macau cooperation, join hands to explore a new development path for Guangdong over the next three decades, become a new engine for economic development in the PRD cities, and create new horizons for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau cooperation. The Hengqin New Area will, through three-way friendship and cooperation, promote policy innovation and resource sharing and establish a long-acting mechanism for three-way win-win cooperation. Through staggered development and win-win cooperation, it will make an all-out effort to establish a new platform for transformation and upgrading in the PRD.

III. Establishment of "Office Against Corruption"

 Infrastructure under construction.
The "Office Against Corruption", China's first anti-corruption agency, opened in the Hengqin New Area of Zhuhai in Guangdong in September this year.

According to a bulletin of the Guangdong provincial discipline inspection commission, this "Office Against Corruption" will comprise four departments, including a general affairs department, a discipline inspection and monitoring department, an audit and monitoring department and an anti-corruption and anti-malfeasance department. Internally they will work with Hengqin's departments of discipline inspection, supervision, prosecution and auditing, with the Zhuhai city discipline inspection commission, supervision bureau, audit bureau and procuratorate as their higher authorities. They come under the leadership of the Hengqin New Area party committee and discipline inspection committee and the Zhuhai city discipline inspection commission. They accept guidance from the corresponding departments of discipline inspection, supervision, auditing and prosecution of Zhuhai.

The biggest "innovation" of Hengqin's "Office Against Corruption" is that it combines three departments which have similar functions but are totally different in nature. It is obvious that the integration of the duties of different agencies is to streamline administration, form a synergy against corruption and avoid overlapping functions and duplicate discipline- and law-enforcement. Within this synergy of forces, the party's discipline inspection commission exercises the power of intra-party supervision, the procuratorate of the judicial system exercises the power of legal supervision, while the supervision and auditing departments of the government exercise the power of administrative supervision. They each have their own anti-corruption system that combines the reporting of offences, investigation and prevention.

Photo: Urban centre under construction. 
Urban centre under construction. 
The notion of the "Office Against Corruption" triggered heated discussion in society as soon as it was raised. Many people associated this with Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and were hoping that this eye-opening "Office Against Corruption" would become the mainland version of ICAC. According to Wang Yukai, vice president of the China Society of Administrative Reform and professor of the Chinese Academy of Governance, the "Office Against Corruption" cannot copy the ICAC model in spite of their nominal resemblance on account of the institutional differences of the two places. As we all know, the fundamental reason why ICAC is able to become a powerful weapon against corruption is that its power to fight corruption enjoys the greatest institutional guarantee. ICAC owes its success to a good legal and law enforcement system. Particularly important is the independence enjoyed by ICAC, which is answerable only to the Chief Executive (of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) and not to any other department or official. This institutional design ensures that ICAC enjoys the greatest freedom in its operational and law-enforcement power, which also makes it awe-inspiring to malfeasants. Although Hengqin's "Office Against Corruption" combines the functions of the departments of discipline inspection, supervision, prosecution and auditing, they have to take orders from the corresponding departments of Zhuhai city. The problem of duplicate administration remains unsolved. Having the deputy secretary of the discipline inspection committee head the "Office Against Corruption" and making him answerable to the local party committee is also quite different from the ICAC model.

from HKTDC Shenzhen Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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