Letters | What Hong Kong can learn from child-friendly Shenzhen
- Readers discuss the Shenzhen government’s intiatives to improve the city, and the effect of an influx of tourists on ordinary people’s lives
Shop owners in Hong Kong could only complain about the comparatively small inflow of mainland visitors during that stretch and cast looks of envy at the north.
Shenzhen has always taken the long-term view on development. For example, back in 2015, the Shenzhen government was the first in the country to propose developing a child-friendly city systemically. It had a slogan, “Seeing the city from the height of 1 metre”, indicating that Shenzhen should be designed from the perspective of children.
In 2018, the Shenzhen government issued a child-friendly city development plan for 2018-2035. As of 2023, Shenzhen has built about 340 child-friendly facilities, 720 community childcare centres and 1,150 baby care rooms covering almost all public places in the city.
I have been to several big shopping centres in the different districts of Shenzhen, such as Nanshan, Baoan and Longgang. They all have nice places for children that are not only safe but also entertaining, creative and educational. Children can play there for the whole day and it saves parents the trouble of wondering where to go with the kids.
The Shenzhen government is known for its efficiency and responsiveness. Shenzhen is one of the youngest and most energetic cities in the country; the average age of residents is 32.5 years.
Credit should first and foremost be given to Deng Xiaoping, who boldly designated Shenzhen as a special economic zone where various economic initiatives could be tried out. Looking back, without Deng’s efforts, Shenzhen would not have accomplished as much as it has.
Many have been talking about the complimentary relationship between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. While this is true, I think there are things Hong Kong can learn from Shenzhen, which once was a straight-A student of Hong Kong.
Fion Yip, Guangzhou
Are Hongkongers disrupting Shenzhen residents’ lives?
Jasmine Cham, Kwai Chung