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National People's Congress

Hong Kong deputies to NPC must reflect wider views

As well as helping make national policy, they should also speak up for local people and help reduce misunderstanding with Beijing

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 December, 2017, 12:33am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 December, 2017, 12:33am

The public may be excused for not knowing that an election has just been held in the city. With fewer than 2,000 people eligible to vote, the ballot to return a new batch of 36 Hongkongers to sit on the state legislature remains a small-circle affair. That is why the news did not generate much public attention. It does not mean the outcome is irrelevant to the people, though. Deputies to the National People’s Congress are not only involved in making laws and policies for the mainland, but also wield strong influence on cross-border affairs. They should therefore reach out to the community more and play a better role in bridging Hong Kong and the mainland.

All winners come from the patriotic camp, which is unsurprising. While there is still room for improvement in terms of the electoral method and representativeness, it is good to see that some veterans, including Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai and Maria Tam Wai-chu, have made way for new blood. Eleven of them are new faces.

Can Hong Kong’s new NPC deputies be the change that the city’s zero-sum politics needs?

NPC vice-chairman Wang Chen urged members to support the government, care about youngsters, forge harmony and promote cross-border exchange. He also urged them to speak louder for national interests in the city.

But some deputies remain so low profile that little is known about them. Perceptions are further coloured by individual members making use of their titles for networking on the mainland. Such an approach should not be encouraged. They need to represent Hong Kong while helping to make important policies for the country. They should also speak up for local people and help reduce misunderstanding between the two sides.

Veteran politician Tam Yiu-chung, tipped to replace Rita Fan as the sole local deputy to sit on the NPC Standing Committee, said views that are obviously inconsistent with Beijing’s policies, the country’s constitution and the Basic Law shall not be reflected. Realistically, Beijing cannot be expected to act against “one country, two systems” and the law. Nonetheless, it would be good if the deputies could reflect a wider spectrum of opinions that are conducive to the development of both the nation and the city.