Xi Jinping

'China dream' and 'Hong Kong dream' need to be put into practice

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 3:11am

The "China Dream" evoked by newly elected President Xi Jinping has, unsurprisingly, generated different interpretations, ranging from building a better future for 1.3 billion people to an ambitious goal of reviving the nation's ancient glories. Meeting Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for the first time in his new capacity on Monday, Xi extended his hopes to the Hong Kong public. Achieving the dream of a rejuvenated nation, he said, required the city's co-operation with the mainland. He said both sides could complement each other and develop further. The top leader also praised Leung for his governance philosophy - "seeking change while keeping stability". But the key, he said, was to put that into practice. His appeal for "unity and active support" for Leung's team was echoed by Li Keqiang when Leung met the new premier.

The remarks by the state leaders speak volumes about Beijing's concerns over the current situation in Hong Kong. Over the past nine months, Leung, to his credit, has rolled out a series of popular measures, such as a locals-only land policy and zero-birth quota for mainland mothers. But that does not dilute the perception that he is still struggling to establish himself as a capable leader. With many of his grand ideas still on the drawing board, patience is wearing thin.

Beijing is perhaps equally eager to see some results. The chief executive has been rightly reminded that having a governing blueprint recognised by the public is not enough. Pressure for him to deliver is growing. Unfortunately, Leung has yet to win over critics and, in some cases, allies who are supposed to be on his side. This is because the pro-Beijing camp remains divided after the chief executive race last year.

It will not be in the country's interest if the city is deadlocked instead of progressing. Being an inseparable part of China, we are expected to help contribute to the nation's success. The appeal for unity and implementing policies is a reminder that we share the same interest in making Hong Kong and China a success. It remains to be seen how well the messages have been received. But frustration is growing that another dream - universal suffrage - has not been given higher priority. There was no serious discussion with the state leaders despite calls for an early consultation on the 2017 electoral arrangements. It would be good if Beijing shares the concerns and help achieve the Hong Kong dream.