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Chinese Parliamentary Sessions 2013

March 2013 sees the annual meeting of the two legislative and consultative bodies of China, where major policies are decided and key government officials appointed. The National People's Congress (NPC) is held in the Great Hall of the People in China's capital, Beijing, and with 2,987 members, is the largest parliament in the world. It gathers alongside the People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) whose members represent various groups of society.

NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Displays of Hong Kong's colonial flag offend Beijing

'Centrifugal forces' and symbols of a former era will not be allowed, Politburo Standing Committee member tells CPPCC delegates

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 9:28am
 

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7 Mar 2013
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Total number of votes recorded: 2,300

A state leader yesterday denounced Hong Kong activists who waved colonial flags during recent protests and warned that "opposition" and "centrifugal forces" would not be allowed to rule the city after universal suffrage was introduced.

Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee - and tipped to be the next chairman of the nation's top advisory body - is the first high-level mainland official to address controversies involving Hong Kong.

In a closed meeting with Hong Kong delegates to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Yu also referred to the parallel trade in infant milk formula and mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong.

One delegate quoted Yu as saying that Hong Kong could not become a base and bridgehead for subverting the mainland.

"When he spoke about the election of the chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017, Yu said 'opposition' and 'centrifugal forces' could not be allowed to rule Hong Kong after universal suffrage was attained," the delegate said. "It is not good for Hong Kong and the country," Yu was quoted as saying.

Again quoting Yu, the delegate said: "The Chinese people will not accept some Hongkongers waving the colonial flag."

The Chinese people will not accept some Hongkongers waving the colonial flag

However, Yu also told Hong Kong delegates to the CPPCC yesterday that he understood the grievances in Hong Kong towards mainlanders coming to the city to compete for resources.

Delegate Tam Yiu-chung said Yu, who served as Shanghai party secretary from 2007 to 2012, spoke of tensions in that city over people who came from other parts of the country to give birth.

"Some Shanghai residents are unhappy with this phenomenon and municipal authorities have had to increase the number of beds for obstetric services to solve the problem," he said.

Delegate Chan Yuen-han, quoted Yu as saying that some Shanghai residents were unhappy about students from other provinces and cities competing for university places.

Another delegate said Yu mentioned that 40 per cent of patients at Shanghai hospitals came from other parts of the mainland.

"It was because the standard of medical service in Shanghai was more advanced. We resolved this simply by building two extra hospitals," Yu said.

Yu also told the delegates that, under the "one country, two systems" formula, conflict between Hongkongers and mainlanders should be handled by Hong Kong's administration. "He is confident that the Hong Kong government can handle the matter properly," Chan said.

Yu also said the government's resolve in implementing the "one country, two systems" principle and supporting the chief executive would never change.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

rease.92
The Hong Kong government should follow the examples of all other Chinese provincial governments: the interests of their own people always come before the interests of anybody else, including Beijing.
rease.92
He is right tThe Hong Kong government should grow a spine in dealing with mainlanders.
vangogh2013
Actually i think the Central Government has a bit over-reacted...anyway I believe firmly that such action is just a kind of protest, and the protesters don't really mean that
And I often find it disgusted that some people are intentionally or otherwise mixing up 'colonial flag' and 'Independence of HK'. These are totally different concepts!
LunarRepublic
" 'opposition' and 'centrifugal forces' could not be allowed to rule Hong Kong after universal suffrage was attained."
Forgive my excessive use of all-Caps, but if that's the case, WHY EVEN BOTHER CALLING IT UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE?!?
To have universal suffrage, you must allow all parties a chance to take control of the government. What freedom do you give to the public by banning specific parties that the government finds tasteless?
And while I think people advocating for Hong Kong's return to British sovereignty laughable, it's their right to express those certain opinions. To suppress them is to suppress free speech, and frankly free speech is the defining element that separates Hong Kong from the rest of the country.
shouken
I acknowledge validity of your point. However, I get the impression that you are absolutize free speech or freedom of expression. I see no essential difference between advocating HK's return to British sovereignty and burning the PRC flag on PRC soil (whatever level of autonamy promised or allowed). Try burning the US flag on US soil and advocating Texas's return to Mexican sovereignty, I am sure the FBI will be after you. It is also an instance of free speech and non-violent, seemingly harmless, but it will upset lots of Americans. We do not live in a social vacuum. When what one says and does affects the larger collectivity, you should exercise some restraint, otherwise, the society also has a right to get back to you.
robaston
Wrong. The US Supreme Court upheld in the case of Texas v. Johnson (1989) that burning of a US flag is not illegal nor can the government be it federal, state or local introduce laws against such an act. In 2006 an attempted Constitutional Amendment to ban flag desecration failed.
The use of the old HK flag which is often used alongside the Republic of China flag (that doesn't get much attention it seems) is there to represent a distinct Hong Kong identity. The Libyan Rebels used the old Monarchist flag despite having no interest in restoring the monarchy.
Haiwaii the birthplace of President Obama has a state flag with the British flag in the top left still to this day as do many sovereign, independent countries. America though has a much more grown up attitude to such things it seems.
jackblack323
"free speech is the defining element that separates Hong Kong from the rest of the country"
It's been known for years that mainland Chinese travel to Hong Kong to participate in large protest rallies like those held June 4th and July 1st each year. They enjoy the freedom to express dissenting views, a freedom they are denied on the mainland.
Perhaps Mr Yu would be interested in taking the stage at the July 1 rally and explaining his "centrifugal forces" theory to the masses.
lucifer
What a load…what else will they be offend by? I know some people in Hong Kong are offended by the flag of the illegitimate Communist Party. That flag symbolizes tyranny, inequality, oppression, disregard for basic human rights and domination over the people.
shouken
How absurd! I have never seen a flag of the Communist Party in HK all these years. I have seen PRC flags. And, tyranny, inequality, oppression, disregard for basic human rights, depending on one's perspective, can be said about many governments, not least the government that sits on Wall Street! I see the government that backs the Wall Street very oppressive.
jackblack323
Good point. But being offended is not an excuse to give a speech.
What offends Chinese people: a government where corruption is the norm, where tainted food products sicken and kill adults and infants, where air and water pollution make life unbearable.
Perhaps Mr Yu could address these issues, which I argue cause a great deal more offense to Hong Kongers and mainlanders alike than the waving of a few flags at protests.

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