BEIJING, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Cheers erupted as the last section of the tunnel box segment was hoisted into position, bringing the world's longest cross-sea bridge one stage closer to completion.
The tunnel excavation works in the Scenic Hill Tunnel section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) Hong Kong Link Road (HKLR) underneath the Airport Express Line (AEL) was completed in May, linking the HKLR to the 55-kilometer bridge that connects Zhuhai in Guangdong Province with Hong Kong and Macao.
By the end of the year, the bridge will be open to traffic, cutting land travel time between Hong Kong and Zhuhai from three hours to 30 minutes.
The bridge is another example of efforts to bring Hong Kong closer to the motherland.
Since the handover of Hong Kong, 20-years ago, the Chinese central government has been making every possible effort to ensure the stability and prosperity of the special administrative region (SAR).
Basic necessities, including about 95 percent of live swine, 100 percent of live cattle, 90 percent of vegetables and 70 percent of flour on the Hong Kong market are supplied by the mainland. The mainland also ensures the quality and stable price of the products.
Guangdong-based Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant provides a quarter of Hong Kong's annual electricity.
Moreover, about 70 to 80 percent of Hong Kong's fresh water is provided by the mainland.
The central government also supported Hong Kong during the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the international financial crisis since 2008 as well as the SARS epidemic.
With support from the motherland and the central government, Hong Kong's unique advantages have been reinforced and enhanced.
Efforts to support Hong Kong in consolidating and elevating its position as an international financial, shipping, and trade center have been included in the country's 13th Five-Year Plan, and the central government also pledged to support the region in strengthening its position as a hub for global offshore RMB business and an international asset management center.
"The stability and development of the mainland provides backing for Hong Kong and a prosperous and stable Hong Kong also contributes to the mainland's development," said Zhang Rongshun, vice chairperson of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Basic Law Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.
As of the end of 2016, Hong Kong remains the largest source of overseas investment for the mainland. The mainland had approved nearly 400,000 projects from Hong Kong investors with the total investment reaching over 914 billion U.S. dollars.
Hong Kong is also the largest recipient of the mainland's overseas investment and its largest overseas financing platform.
Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said in his annual policy address earlier this year that the region's role as a "super-connector" between the rest of China and the world is becoming more apparent.
The development of Hong Kong can not be separated from the motherland, said HKSAR's fifth-term chief executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. "At every stage, Hong Kong secures new growth points within the development of the country. This is true for the past, and for future as well."
Lam expects greater opportunities for Hong Kong brought about by the Belt and Road Initiative.
Eddy Li, president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, agreed. He believes such opportunities will help Hong Kong's economy.
From April last year, Li's association and some other industrial and commercial associations in Hong Kong organized business study tours to countries and regions along the Belt and Road.
The central government has also made it a major policy to support Hong Kong's participation in Belt and Road development while designing the 13th Five-Year Plan and the Belt and Road vision.
It has pledged to support the SAR in building itself into a platform of comprehensive services, financing and investment and cultural exchanges for the Belt and Road as well as a center for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia Pacific and for multi-functional shipping for the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Johnny Ng, president of the Hong Kong United Youth Association, also called on the younger generation in Hong Kong to join their mainland peers to seek opportunities from China's national strategies.
According to a survey, about a half of business starters in Hong Kong have plans to work outside Hong Kong and two thirds of them said that place may be the mainland.
With support from the central government and favorable conditions regarding finance and channels, Ng believes it a "golden age" for Hong Kong youngsters to start business in the mainland.
"The link between the mainland and Hong Kong is providing Hong Kong with very good development opportunities, which the region's youths will not miss," he said.