• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 3:56pm
Leung Chun-ying
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong policymakers told to take account of China's views

Mandatory assessments of policies' impact on mainland seen as odd by civil servants, but Exco member calls requirement reasonable

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 May, 2013, 10:36am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 May, 2013, 6:03am

A confidential Executive Council memo that requires all future policy proposals to factor in the likely mainland reaction has sparked concern that the government is putting mainland interests ahead of Hong Kong's.

One government administrative officer called the memo "odd", and said colleagues were stunned when they received it early this month. A ruling that the assessment be omitted from papers submitted to lawmakers has prompted further questions.

Executive councillor and lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said that as recent policies had courted criticism from the mainland, "it would be reasonable to remind civil servants that they should do such an assessment".

The memo comes amid heightened Hong Kong-mainland tensions, with Leung Chun-ying's administration facing mainlanders' criticism for policies that affect their interests, especially a limit on baby-formula exports of two cans per person per day to stop rampant buying up of supplies by parallel-goods traders who smuggle the milk over the border.

"From June 1, an assessment on mainland perception and related public relations measures will become … mandatory … for all Policy Committee papers and Executive Council submissions", the document, leaked to Apple Daily, reads. It was issued to administrative officers by the Executive Council secretariat on May 2, an officer told the South China Morning Post.

"When we saw the memo, we nearly fell off our chairs. It's just odd," the officer, who preferred not to be named, said.

He said he doubted the need for the requirement, as it was usual practice to put assessments of different stakeholders' reactions under a "public reaction" chapter in policy papers.

The memo says all policy bureaus and departments should, using common sense, assess the reaction of the mainland community to their policies, including governments, the people, the media and organisations. It should also suggest whether it is necessary to liaise with and explain the policy to them.

A government spokesman said a range of factors were considered in policymaking, and assessing mainland reaction was "responsible behaviour".

"We stress that the government departments will make the assessments in strict accordance with the Basic Law and 'one country, two systems'."

Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang said: "Under 'one country, two systems', there is no reason why Hong Kong's policymakers should be constantly looking over their shoulders, trying to second-guess possible mainland reaction."

She said there had been no requirement before the handover to assess UK reaction to domestic policy issues, even when these had significant implications for British commercial interests.

Civic Party leader and lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit said he was puzzled to see the government making "common sense" a black-and-white requirement.

"I fear that this could send the wrong message and civil servants would think that mainland interests could override those of the people of Hong Kong."

But one executive councillor said he did not think the memo would affect policymakers.

"If officials are over-concerned with mainland reaction, their integrity will be questioned by lawmakers when they go to lobby for their policies."


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This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
Mainland interests should never override those of Hong Kong people. Scuh as the infant formula milk powder supply---the interests of Hong Kong mothers should be top priorty and Hongkongers' interests should be taken into account whenever there are conflicts between local people and Mainanders or the cadres across the border at Lowu.Right ?
Regina doesn't make sense. Hong Kong, a fully developed economy, should consider the "mainland's" reactions to decisions about our policies? The mainland, which is still in the middle stages of developing its economy being at a crossroads between a manufacturing based economy and trying to figure out what's next does not have anything meaningful to contribute to our policies. The mainland on the other hand could benefit a lot from Hong Kong people's ideas and policymakers visions for the way forward.
With the problems that have been caused here during the years since 97 and especially after 2003 when the individual visitor scheme kicked in, it is obvious that we need to implement policies that may be unpopular with the mainland. Look at the problems we have today, inflation, baby formula shortages, rude visitors flooding our public transport and shopping centers. But we with a educated population are in a position to make decisions that protect Hong Kong as an entity and Hong Kong people from being consumed.
If Regina and others like her don't have the ability to recognize this and they want to be puppets for Beijing, then the only defense we have is the next election, get them out of here and elect people who have a clear vision for Hong Kong.
hard times !
of course you agree with Broomhead,Regina Ip as you are a pro-establishment element AND one of their guys ! If you love Hong Kong and a geniune Hongkonger,you should place the interests of Hong Kong first ! Right ? If your family enjoy eating curry food and you would like to prepare some curry meals for them,would you consider whether your neighbours will tolerate/enjoy the smell of curry ? Of course not ! You just don't have to take into consideration whether your neighbours like the smell of curry at all ! It is your right to prepare curry food at home--not at your neighbours' homes of course ! Should Shenzhen government takes into considerations of the reactions of Hongkongers when it has any proposals to put into practice ? Of course not,it is their internal governance.To maintain,'One country,two systems'---what Regina Ip said is totally wrong and illogical as well-------I wonder this old lady has grown old and her brain cells turn rotten maybe !
The entire HK government structure is just a charade anymore. Technically, people of any color and dots/stripes can be voted for, but in reality, only pink/red candidates exist on the ballot. Nobody believes that policies can be enacted nor maintained if not in agreement from Beijing. With the placement of HK SAR under Zhang deJiang, the slow digestion process is over. The final chewing phase has begun, and HK will be just another Mainland municipality within 3 years. Right now, they allow all of these meaningless protest until the protesters get tired and go home. In due time, Zheng deJiang will crack down like he did at Dongguan around 2005. He was not chosen as a diplomatic compromiser to replace Bo Xilai in Chongqing. He was chosen for his head busting skills to fight the Triads trying to return after Bo Xilai was sacked, to maintain the Dongbei Mafia that Bo and Wang Lijun had set up.
Just because he governs HK does not mean he is accountable to the people of HK. He was selected by Beijing and it is to Beijing he reports. Why is this surprising? Did anyone think it was going to be different?
hard times !
Now some politicians can be dubbed as Hong Kong traitors.They are :C.Y.Leung,most Exco.members,pro-establishment and pro-Beijing lawmakers in the Legco.and many district councillors who come from pro-establishment organisations plus the two radical political groups:'Caring Hong Kong Power' and 'Voice of Loving Hong Kong'.Of course,the few mouthpieces of Beijing such as Man Wui Pao,Tai Kung Pao and..some pro-Beijing local magazines and the Federation of Trade Unions and the DAB plus quite a lot of so-called patriotic organisations in this city.Yet totally,they are still the minority of our population who mostly embrace democracy and place the interests of Hong Kong as priority all the time !
hard times !
the memo issued to all bureau heads is really too much,it actually breaches,'One country,two systems ' ! As one Exco councillor said,' if officials are over-concerned with Mainland reactions, their integrity will be questioned by lawmakers (those with conscience and righteousness of course) when they go to lobby for thier policies and ask for allocation of funds' Right ? Safeguard our,' One country,two systems' and 'Hong Kong ruled by Hong Kong people' plus' high autonomy'though not fully autonomous ! Only when the chief executive is elected through a geniune universal suffrage,can the well-beings and rights of we Hongkongers be guaranteed.Right ?
hard times !
As Master Current affairs commentator(a China expert in town),Mr.Lau Yuet-siu said in today's City Forum,the concept of 'One Country, two systems' has been blurred deliberately in today's Hong Kong political environment already. Now someone in the government (maybe C.Y.himself) even issued a new requirement: all future policies should take into account the reactions of Mainland authorities,the organisations there and the people there as well ! How unreasonable and illogical it is ! I wonder,the authorities in Guangzhou or Shenzhou should consider Hong Kong people's reactions when formulating their future policies ?
I see many comments made here are quite simplistic. Those people making the comments see HK as a self sufficient and very affluent ISLAND which requires no dealing at all with the neighboring places and people. Hey guys...we HK people are not living in a vacuum. Nowadays, many of the decisions made here in HK by the HK Governments involve many stakeholders, and the mainlanders is one of them, do you agree? At least we should do some PR work to keep them informed or just to pacify them.
This is called kowtowing.
689 was selected by Beijing not H.K people. So all his policies are pro-communist
and rubbish. He is guiltily to all citizens.
to choose between the bad and the worse, I would rather be a Hong Kong traitor than a China traitor.
Cy licks his bosses asses and is now having Hong Kong to do the same.
Let's not forget, we are suppsoed to be his boss....
hard times !
if is strange that now the Leung administration has made 'common sense' a black-and-white requirement when making policies that might cause reactions across the border at Lowu or even northwards ! These days,our beloved Hong Kong has become a rather weird place to live in.I advise youngsters to seriously consider emigrating /studying abroad/getting married with foreigners so as to leave the territory not later than 2027----20 years before the 2047 when the 'One country,two systems' comes to an end---for their well-beings !
I agree with Regina Ip that the circular is an expected reminder because some recent statements have not been as tactful as they should or could have been. Maybe the language skills need to be improved rather than the diplomatic dexterity.
Even with family members, friends and neighbours we choose our language, pitch our tone of voice and choose the mobility of our expression, as appropriate
Why should we not extend the same courtesy and sensitivity to Beijing considering the relationship between HongKong and the Mainland government?
The outcries of 'boot-licking' and 'kowtowing' to the masters in Beijing are ill-thought through and unmannered. The writers seem to know nothing about how departments and how staff work or fail to follow directives and guidelines.
Moreover, in their rush to print with excess of adrenalin or whatever, they forget that Hong Kong is not an independent entity. It is a tiny strip of land belonging to China and politically the Hong Kong government is another arm of the government of China.
Why is this so surprising?
Sounded like some confucius close minded idiots are acting like an out of date and ignorant parent!!!
This growing culture - inherited from the Brits (who are, by the way, past masters at secrecy and world leaders in duplicity) in significant part - and combined with the naturally closed nature of a one-party state - feeds off itself and makes the situation worse. Open up, be transparent and opposition will wither. Unless ofcourse, the reason you aint opening up is because you have something to hide.
If this is so normal, why was it kept confidential and required to be outed by Apple Daily?
hard times !
all future bureau policy proposals should to factor in likely Mainland reaction is itself a farce or an idiotic act indeed ! I wonder whether our neighbour,the Shenzhen or Guangzhou's governments should take into our reactions regarding their policy proposals ? The one who proposes such illogiacl suggestion is himself a Hong Kong traitor who betrays:'One Country,two systems ' ! Right ?


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