|Leung Chun-ying, newly-elected Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), speaks in an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Hong Kong, south China, March 30, 2012. The HKSAR held the election for the fourth-term chief executive on March 25. In the first round of the voting, Leung garnered 689 votes, a majority of the 1,132 votes cast by members of the 1,200- member Election Committee. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)
PATRIOTISM IS CITIZENS' RESPONSIBILITY
The first time the notion of the motherland struck Leung was in the 1970s when a Chinese national basketball team visited England. He was deeply impressed by the respectfulness and solemnity displayed by the British supporters when "God Save the Queen" was played.
In Bristol Polytechnic, Leung bonded with other Chinese students to discuss life planning, social progress, development and the future of the motherland.
"The experiences were invaluable wealth in my life," Leung said. "Since then, I began to ponder the relationship between individual, society and nation, and think about what I can do for my country."
After graduation, he returned to Hong Kong. In 1977, Leung joined the Hong Kong office of Jones Lang Wootton, one of the largest British real estate consultancy firms. Five years later, he became an equity partner, the youngest partner of the firm in its history of 200-odd years.
In the late 1970s, Leung joined a group of professionals -- lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, planners and surveyors -- who set up the Association of Experts for the Modernization of China aimed at advising Chinese mainland officials on issues such as urban planning, land auctions and property rights.
They traveled at their own expense to Shenzhen -- then a fishing village with just a few thousand residents -- on weekends to help the local authorities prepare a town plan.
It was not popular among young Hong Kongers, especially the high-fliers at that time.
Leung also traveled regularly to Guangzhou and Shanghai to discuss with the locals on land use and development in their modernization drive, contributing to their land policies. His recommendations on dealing with expiring leases on the New Territories, the part of Hong Kong closest to the mainland, eventually found their way into the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong.
"Patriotism is the responsibility of citizens. It is a great honor that I can serve my motherland with what I have learned," Leung said.