Wen Jiabao

Wen devotes fewer words to Hong Kong, Macau at NPC

Observers say the fact Wen said less about SARs doesn't mean their significance has lessened

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 March, 2013, 9:09am

Premier Wen Jiabao gave relatively short shrift to Hong Kong and Macau in his final work report, devoting fewer words to the special administrative regions than in any of the previous nine years.

Wen dropped references to "developing the economy", "improving people's livelihoods" and "facilitating democracy" in the two cities, a feature of previous reports.

The three paragraphs of the 28-page report devoted to Hong Kong and Macau contained just 113 Chinese characters.

Wen stressed the importance of unity between Hong Kong and Macau and the mainland.

"We should rally our compatriots in Hong Kong and Macau around us and maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of the two regions," he said.

We should rally our compatriots in Hong Kong and Macau around us and maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of the two regions

That echoed a call he made when Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying visited Beijing in December.

Repeating a phrase from last year's report, Wen said: "We should adhere to the principles of 'one country, two systems'; the people of Hong Kong governing Hong Kong; the people of Macau governing Macau; and both regions enjoying a high degree of autonomy."

In the past five years, the cities' "exchanges and co-operation with the mainland reached a new height", Wen said.

"We strengthened our work related to Hong Kong and Macau," he said. "Hong Kong and Macau are thriving and stable."

Maria Tam Wai-chu, head of the Hong Kong delegation to the National People's Congress, said the shorter remarks did not mean the significance of Hong Kong was on the decline.

"The central government's support for Hong Kong remains unchanged," she said, pointing to Hong Kong's role in the nation's 12th five-year plan and the signing of Closer Economic Partnership Agreement deals. "It is not necessary to put all the details into the report."

Yin Xiaojing, deputy director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference presidium, said the fact Wen's remarks were shorter "shows a change in the writing style" of the work report and a new style of government. "The central government strongly supports Hong Kong and is confident in its future," she said.

Another Hong Kong deputy to the NPC, Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, said: "Hong Kong is just a small part of China. As the whole report is shorter, it's normal that the coverage of Hong Kong and Macau is reduced."

Former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, a CPPCC delegate, said the 12th five-year plan spelled out Hong Kong's role in the country's development.

"We Hongkongers should not pin too much hope on the country doing a lot of work for Hong Kong," he said.

Infographic Wen mentioned the word "development" the most in his work report. See the visual breakdown: