Zhang’s visit vital for Hong Kong

張貼日期:May 13, 2016 8:51:21 PM

By Yang Sheng

Yang Sheng argues that the upcoming visit by Zhang Dejiang shows that Beijing has great interest in HK’s well-being and critics of it are just scaremongering.

Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) Zhang Dejiang will visit Hong Kong in the middle of next week to attend a Belt and Road forum. He will meet with the SAR’s political, business and community leaders.

A State leader visiting a city in the country to see how things are going there and to show the central government’s concern for the local population is normal. But to the opposition camp and the media it has become an opportunity to create controversy and drive a wedge between Hong Kong and the mainland.

It is not unusual for the opposition to focus on something minor and blow it out of proportion. That has happened with many cross-boundary issues. This time, however, what they are focusing is not an issue at all.

Opposition lawmakers and Apple Daily have been accusing Beijing of downgrading the SAR’s status by stating that the nature of Zhang’s visit is an “inspection”. The newspaper said this is the first time this term has been used to describe a State leader’s visit to the SAR. Nothing can be further from the truth than this.

In November 2011, when the then vice-premier of the State Council, Li Keqiang, paid a visit to Hong Kong, news reports by Xinhua News Agency used the word “inspection” to describe Li’s trip. What was also not mentioned among Apple Daily’s recent allegations is the newspaper made the same accusation at that time — that the term “inspection” sounded degrading to the SAR. It did its best to provoke and scare Hong Kong people. But no other media overreacted like Apple Daily or echoed their assertion then, nor was the public influenced by the newspaper’s groundless charge.

One can see from this earlier incident that what the opposition is doing today is nothing but an old trick and that they are apparently desperate.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, established under the Basic Law, and the NPCSC is the supreme State organ that produced and interprets the constitutional document. One wonders why it is an issue for Zhang, the NPCSC chairman, to come to Hong Kong for an inspection tour. His visit can only be constitutional and logical.

Since China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, some people have mistakenly thought that “Two Systems” is above “One Country”. Describing Zhang’s visit as “inspection” as well as the recent rearrangement of the seating plan for the meeting of the Chief Executive with President Xi Jinping in Beijing both serve to put “One Country, Two Systems” in the right perspective.

While the opposition claims that calling Zhang’s visit an “inspection” is inappropriate and downgrading, it is interesting to know that they have called upon the United Kingdom to send delegations to Hong Kong to “inspect” the implementation of “One Country, Two Systems”. Their logic seems to be that it is inappropriate to have our State leaders come to inspect the SAR, but appropriate to have foreign political delegations to do so.

It is also interesting to note that Apply Daily never accuses US President Barack Obama or British Prime Minister David Cameron of intervening in local affairs when they go “inspecting” different parts of their country. Obviously the newspaper is determined to tarnish the image of Beijing in the eyes of Hong Kong people and undermine their relationship with the central government. The public should beware of such tactics and stop believing what they say.

Zhang’s visit is an embodiment of the central government’s support and care for the SAR and its people. The idea is to foster Hong Kong’s social harmony and help various sectors to take advantage of the many opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative and the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20). Hong Kong people must not miss this great opportunity. Most importantly, they must not let their attention be diverted by ploys by the opposition and their media.

The author is a current affairs commentator.