Leung Chun-ying

Leung Chun-ying accused of avoiding cross-border tensions in Beijing talks

Chief executive met four new ministers during five-day trip, but academics say he failed to address cross-border tensions

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 March, 2013, 4:33am

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying wrapped up his five-day visit to Beijing yesterday, during which he met four new ministers and worked on what he called his "homeland relationship" and cross-border co-operation.

But Professor Chan Kin-man, a sociologist at Chinese University, said the Hong Kong government needed to focus on explaining its policies to mainlanders, rather than discussing them with officials there, to ease cross-border tension over tourism.

On his last day in the capital, Leung held separate meetings with the new foreign minister, Wang Yi , governor of the People's Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan , and the new chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, Xiao Gang.

The chief executive said that in his meetings with Zhou and Xiao they discussed further developing the qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) scheme and the renminbi qualified foreign institutional investor (RQFII) scheme.

"Progress has been made, but there is lots of work to do, so I will return to Beijing shortly, while my colleagues in the bureau will also follow up," he said.

Amid suggestions that Hong Kong is too reliant on the mainland, Leung stressed that he made it clear the relationship must involve mutual gains.

"I emphasised that while we hope the central government will support us, Hong Kong also hopes to contribute to the nation's progress," Leung said.

I emphasised that while we hope the central government will support us, Hong Kong also hopes to contribute to the nation's progress
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying

However, while a heated debate has been going on in Hong Kong over whether restrictions on the multiple-entry permit scheme and milk-powder exports are appropriate, Leung's third visit to Beijing in three months did not see him focus on this issue.

Leung said that during his meeting with new state councillor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun on Sunday they discussed cross-border crime. But he did not say whether they talked about imposing restrictions on the multiple-entry permit scheme.

A Hong Kong government source said the central government had no plans at this stage to impose such restrictions.

Chan said it appeared that the major conflict with the mainland was not tackled.

"Beyond the official level, this 'homeland relationship' also means between the people of Hong Kong and the mainland. Leung's government needs to explain its policies to people on the mainland, or ask the central government to explain them for it."

Dixon Sing Ming, a political scientist at the University of Science and Technology, agreed on what the important issue was. "There are more and more mainland tourists in Hong Kong, causing disturbances. Without new initiatives from Beijing, I fear that hostility towards the mainland will grow in the city."