As a native of Shaanxi province, I took special pride earlier this month in the news that a fellow resident was awarded the title of “10 outstanding new Hong Kong young persons”.

Gao Bo, who was born in Baoji, a transportation hub as well as a city of historic fame less than 200 kilometers west of provincial capital Xi’an, was among celebrities including famous pianist Li Yundi and retired Olympic diver Guo Jingjing to be granted the honor.

In 2007, Gao won a full scholarship and came to study at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Since then, he has not only strived to build himself a career in Hong Kong but also done a lot to help young people from the mainland better adapt to this international city.

The 28-year-old has also demonstrated a talent in e-commerce and vision in introducing the best resources from his home province into Hong Kong. Thanks to his efforts, many companies in Shaanxi have forged close business ties with their Hong Kong counterparts.

Gao is among tens of thousands of young people from the mainland who have achieved self-fulfillment and also made contributions to Hong Kong society. Many of my young colleagues also belong to this group. They have come to Hong Kong to pursue a better higher education and later a career. They hope this will lead to a rewarding life in this exciting cosmopolitan city.

For years, Hong Kong has appealed to young people from the mainland with its high-quality education system, well-paying jobs and international atmosphere. In one way or another, because of their close bonds with the mainland, they serve as a bridge that helps build better understanding between the two sides.

Needless to say, any effort to deepen mutual understanding should be a two-way street. Over the years, both government and non-government bodies in Hong Kong have sponsored programs that aim to give Hong Kong’s young people some real experience on the mainland.

Just last month, some 400 Hong Kong college students went to Beijing and Shanghai for a month-long internship at local internet companies. On Wednesday, Hong Kong and Guangdong province signed nine agreements and pledged more efforts to strengthen ties in an array of fields including youth cooperation and education.

These are positive trends that can inject fresh vitality into the positive interaction between Hong Kong and the mainland. This in turn will help forge more objective perceptions and develop better relationship between the two sides.

Admittedly, Hong Kong’s youth issue has become increasingly worrying, with some young people embracing such dangerous notions as “localism”, “de-Sinofication” and even “Hong Kong independence”. A misconception about the mainland and its relationship with Hong Kong is partly to blame.

To cope with this issue, apart from guidance from the government, more exemplary figures are needed so young people can be inspired and follow them. Hong Kong society needs to do more as well so a desirable atmosphere which facilitates the healthy growth of the young generation can be cultivated and will prevail.

(HK Edition 09/19/2016 page1)