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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

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


  • Yes: 7%
  • No: 93%
7 Mar 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 2,301

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

They wouldn't wave the flag if the government actually represented them. Let's get rid of functional constituencies for the LC and also directly elect the chief executive.
Although by the way Mr. Yu is talking, Beijing fully intends to control the candidate list for CE in 2017. What is the difference between universal suffrage with 2 pro-Beijing candidates, and the current system? No difference whatsoever, and if they intend to do this, the voter turnout numbers will clearly show this to be a farce.
Keep fighting for your rights HKers, regardless of whether or not it makes some guy in Beijing lose face.
What does he mean by "centrifugal forces"? For that matter what does he mean by "subversion"? Is he saying that the Chinese government is so weak that it could be subverted by an open display of the colonial flag? What is it exactly that you are afraid of? Please Mr Yu, define your terms instead of giving us this meaningless official propaganda.
Let's face facts. Very few HK people want to go back to being a British colony even if it were possible. Most HK people want something very different. They want Beijing to respect the autonomy given to HK to govern itself within the scope of the Basic Law. We don't want Beijing deciding who will rule HK within that scope. HK is part of China but China agreed to certain terms in order to convince the Brits to pull out and HK people to be happy to be part of China. Part of that is freedom of speech and expression. The flag is being used as a symbol. Perhaps what the Communist Party needs to see is the statement being made, not the symbol itself. They are new at this and do not like freedom of speech that they don't control, but it is not going away in HK or China or even perhaps Taiwan. We are big boys and girls and can take care of ourselves.
The offense over flags is a culture versus nostalgia issue. In the west, you can mostly fly any flag you want and other folks just mostly ignore it. British rule of HK is an abomination to many Chinese, but then again the British did many wonderful things for HK as well as graciously handing it back. So, The old flag offends Mr. Yu and he publicly speaks out. Then what? Is that it? Just some guy saying he's offended? That's fine. He should have the right to express himself. We can form an opinion of him or ignore the matter altogether.
Today the colonial British flag is banished, tomorrow emblazoned union jack t-shirts and handbags will be banned, the day after tomorrow Japanese goods will be targeted. Where does it all end?
The Chinese leadership needs to be more tolerant. The colonial British flag is a remnant of the past. The Chinese leadership needs to accept that Hong Kong was once a colony of Britain even though this was wrong. You cannot change history unless of course you distort the truth.
I totally agree with Yu that waving colonial flags upsets Beijing and indicates forces which try to undermine the power of the communistic party. However, that exactly what Hong Kong people should do, if they want to enjoy freedom and democracy. It's not Beijing's decision who will become Hong Kong's next chief executive.
"opposition" and "centrifugal forces" would not be allowed to rule the city
So even if we'd get universal suffrage, Beijing would still decide who we could vote for/who would win the election? So why bother?
a Protest is meant to be offensive to the target audience, one would think its obvious. Chinese culture of strict "father" must end and change with younger thinking!
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.
Yu Zhengsheng - a US Green card holder (Permanent resident), can someone verify that he had applied for US citizenship? Does he maintain a bank account in USA, how many people in his family had migrated to USA? Can you declare your nationality to the Chinese people?



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