Xi Jinping

Hong Kong officials can learn from congress seminar

The first city event of its kind may have raised a few eyebrows, but it is important that those at the top know what is going on nationally

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 November, 2017, 12:47am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 November, 2017, 12:47am

With the city’s atmosphere so politically charged these days, any gestures taken by Beijing in relation to Hong Kong governance may attract a great deal of scrutiny, or even scepticism. The seminar on the Communist Party’s 19th national congress for local officials and other sectors held in the city are a case in point.

Admittedly, the city has yet to get used to such political addresses. The seminar on Thursday may even be seen by some as Beijing tightening its grip or infringing on our high degree of autonomy under the principle of “one country, two systems”, but on the other side of the coin is the need to know the country better. Resistance will only further add to our lack of awareness and understanding.

The importance of Hong Kong in national development was mentioned several times in the congress speech delivered by Xi Jinping in his capacity as party general secretary. Not only is it disingenuous to pretend that the event had nothing to do with us, it is hardly in the city’s interest to shun the goals and policies that shape the future of the nation and its people.

The seminar was the first time for local officials to be lectured on such a congress. That the head of the party’s literature research office and the chief of Beijing’s liaison office addressed political appointees and top civil servants directly inside government headquarters has raised further eyebrows.

Beijing seeks better understanding of Communist Party’s work and goals from Hong Kong establishment

Like it or not, Beijing has become more assertive in its power over Hong Kong. This is partly due to the low level of importance the city attaches to one country. As we faithfully defend the two systems, we tend to focus on our own interests and development without paying much regard to what is going on at the national level.

It was not until recently that officials paid more attention to how the city could complement national development, but there is still no comprehensive national perspective when it comes to policymaking.

Being an integral part of China makes it essential for us to find out how we can fit into the national development agenda. It does not necessarily mean we have to rally behind one country at the expense of two systems. The latter, however, must not become a hindrance to how we better understand the country. This is particularly important for those who form the backbone of the establishment.

What is important is that the principles of one country, two systems and a high degree of autonomy will not be compromised as a result. Our politicians and civil servants should be able to discharge their duties without pressure, giving regard to local circumstances without losing sight of national interests and development.