• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 1:59pm

Chinese parliamentary sessions 2014

The annual Chinese "lianghui" of 2014, or plenary meetings of China's top legislative and consultative bodies, the National People's Congress and the National People's Consultative Conference, will take place in Beijing in early to mid-March. The NPC sessions are scheduled to begin on March 5, and the CPPCC meetings to commence on March 3. 

NewsHong Kong
National People’s Congress

Beijing voices ‘concern’ over Hong Kong’s capacity for mainland tourists

Top official on city's affairs tells NPC delegates of fears over its tourism capacity and says recent protests were 'derogatory and divisive'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 6:22pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 March, 2014, 5:00pm

Beijing's top official on Hong Kong affairs has acknowledged for the first time that the city's capacity for mainland tourists is a matter of concern for the central government.

National People's Congress head Zhang Dejiang - the nation's third most powerful politician - told a closed meeting of Hong Kong delegates at the annual NPC session in Beijing yesterday that the problem had been "taken note of".

Zhang said the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council and the China National Tourism Administration should look at the issue with the Hong Kong government, said sources at the meeting.

[Zhang] said Hong Kong is not a sovereign state … so we cannot copy Western models

Ip Kwok-him, a local NPC deputy who was in attendance, said the NPC chairman wanted to know what resources the city had, so as to ensure trips by mainland visitors were "worthwhile and happy".

Ip said Zhang referred to the recent ill-tempered demonstrations by some Hong Kong people against mainland tourists.

Ip added: "Zhang said the recent protests were derogatory, intensified social divisions and were inappropriate."

Zhang expressed his concerns as he reiterated Beijing's stance on political reform, warning the city could face "disastrous consequences" if it adopted Western-style democracy.

Ma Fung-kwok, a Hong Kong deputy to the NPC, quoted Zhang as saying: "You cannot just move or copy [the electoral system] from abroad, otherwise you might very easily find it can't adapt to the local environment and become a democracy trap ... and possibly bring a disastrous result." Ma did not specify what such a disaster might be.

Others at the meeting said Zhang also re-emphasised key criteria for candidates in the election for chief executive in 2017.

He said candidates must "love" China and abide by the Basic Law, which states that all candidates must be approved by a "broadly representative nominating committee" - a body more than likely dominated by pro-Beijing loyalists.

The pan-democratic camp wants the public to be allowed to nominate candidates, as in Legislative Council elections and in many overseas polls.

Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, a member of the NPC's Standing Committee, said Zhang emphasised that the electoral method must follow the Basic Law and fit the actual situation in Hong Kong.

"He said Hong Kong is not a sovereign state … so we cannot copy Western models," Fan said.

Zhang was also said to have issued a veiled attack on the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement, which threatens to block roads in the city's financial district if authorities fail to deliver on genuine democracy.

Additional reporting by Reuters



For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

When I saw the headline, at first I thought: oh how nice, finally they begin to share our concern that 50 million tourists a year might be a bit much.

But it is the opposite. They are concerned that we are not handling the 50 million (and soon to be 60, 70 or more million) tourists in a kind and orderly manner. We must try harder to ensure they have a 'worthwhile and happy' trip.

Screening out candidates based on political orientation and/or using the nomination committee to select the candidates to stand as chief executive is essentially the mainland system of grassroots democracy where the Chinese Communist Party picks the candidates that are acceptable. As such, this type of system cannot be introduced into Hong Kong if the "Two Systems" component of "One Country, Two Systems" is to be maintained. To deny civic nomination or to deny candidates based on political orientation is "One Country, One System." It is also "Beijing people ruling Hong Kong" not "Hong Kong people ruling/governing/administering Hong Kong." If Beijing picks the candidates through its manipulation of the nomination committee than its Beijing people pure and simple - which is the outcome of the system that currently exists.
Rita Fan should tell her NPC Standing Committee colleagues that if HK does not get real universal suffrage than China will have the very thing that it does not want: instability. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that. HK will not accept the mainland system. They have't waited 30 years to be sold a fake LV bag.
A politically naïve thinking. There is a boundary set in the constitution and China has good excuse to turn us down. Hong Kong has been losing its importance in China context since 1997 for our own failure to progress and any instability in Hong Kong is not hurting China but simply hurting ourselves. Hong Kong has virtually no bargaining chips against China. When the pan-democrats acts to fight for universal suffrage in Hong Kong, what did they achieve so far? Nothing at all. They just talk on the ideal and let them stand on the moral high ground simply to ensure their Legco position. If continuing in this stand, I am sure we will get nothing other than CY leung winning his second term.
Future can't be more grim for this once beautiful city.
To those believe in fifty years "one country two systems" after 1997 live a dream, the great colonial days made Hong Kong proud, but vanished and missed. Get ready for the changes, CY is making sure it is Hong Kong, China, not British Colony.
We seem not to have had too much in the way of trouble adopting a Western economic model of free enterprise and a rule of law. I guess adopting of Western models is only ok where the masters decide that they like the model. The disastrous result would be that the masters might not control how we rule ourselves and might think thoughts that they are not so keen about. Thank the heavens we have them to protect us from ourselves.
First, CANCEL the multiple visa scheme and replace it with the previous 2-way permit for all mainlander visitors ....Second, establish a free zone or duty free complex at Shenzhen border wherein mainlanders can shop and buy their basic or daily necessities instead of crossing the border to HK.... since, these mainlanders are simply aftering a cheaper commodities here in HK with geniune quality and nothing else....Lastly, UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE in HONGKONG is simply a show of "CIRCUS" and nothing more...Just like a bunch of GOONS, TRIAD or MAFIA putting up their own boss in ruling the city of HONGKONG...." WHAT A SHAME and SO PATHETIC "
When setting up a duty free zone at Shenzhen border at the same time set up a grocery hall at HK side where all the grannie's can do their veggie shopping instead of blocking special lane immigration passport control. I get sick and tired of them as they can get a return to the motherland pass and take the e-channel so why mess up the only fast lane I can use. Same for those parents with the illegal 2nd kid with HK ID. I suggest only if parents and child have same passport/nationality are they allowed to use special lane
A couple of glaring points from Mr Zhang's comments:
1. "You cannot just move or copy [the electoral system] from abroad, otherwise you might very easily find it can't adapt to the local environment". Duly noted but presumably this does not include copying Marxist-Leninism from the West or, paradoxically, a market economy with joint stock companies, limited liability, coveting the "rule of law", all things that China has done and aspires too?
2. The Basic Law says nothing about "loving China".
3. On any reasonable interpretation of "all candidates must be approved by a "broadly representative nominating committee" as provided for by the Basic Law, "broadly representative" must surely mean broadly representative of *all* people in Hong Kong. Let's hope there is no use of "doublespeak" per George Orwell, famed Western writer here.
Also noted here is the exhortation to candidates to abide by the Basic Law. Indeed! And it should work both ways!
Yep. Sad to say, it's doomed.



SCMP.com Account