China’s Two Sessions
Beijing’s annual parliamentary meetings
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Every year, the two main political bodies of China meet for the 'two sessions', where plans for China's policies involving the economy, military, trade, diplomacy, the environment and more, are revealed. Here is what you need to know.
With the revamped system in place, Beijing will be directly involved in local politics – whether it likes it or not. Being in the driver’s seat, it may be blamed for governance failures. Finger-pointing may ensue over livelihood issues, not just political matters.
The Hong Kong-based One Country Two Systems Research Institute is hosting an event on Tuesday, which is being live streamed on scmp.com, examining China’s 14th five-year plan that was approved at the National People’s Congress earlier this month.
Beijing has redrawn the lines for power plays in Hong Kong by giving the Election Committee a major role in choosing lawmakers. It also appears to be diminishing the role of the Heung Yee Kuk, which has become an obstacle to solving Hong Kong’s housing problem.
Beijing has lost patience and thrown out much of our political structure, a setback for the democratisation of Hong Kong. Those who still wish to remain involved in civic affairs need more transparency and information from officials.
The roots of the problem of low female political participation lie in the depths of China’s patriarchal culture. Party membership is a basic requirement if a woman wants to rise through the ranks of government and yet, out of 91 million members, only 28 per cent are women.
With power concentrated in the hands of a small number of gatekeepers, will there be meaningful competition in the chief executive election? Even if pro-democracy candidates can overcome the tough entry barriers, will any want to take part in legislative elections?
Officials say the reforms are necessary to improve governance, but the revamp also makes the goal of universal suffrage even more distant.
Beijing-imposed electoral reform has left some feeling despondent but there is still an opportunity for dialogue that must be seized.
If Beijing’s electoral rollback is the stick while the push to resolve the housing problem – among other livelihood issues – is supposed to be the carrot, then most likely, Hong Kong people will end up with a heavy stick over their heads rather than a proper roof.
China’s stable development depends on a “dual circulation” economy, in which domestic consumption shoulders a lot of the growth presently generated by manufactured exports
Officials admit that some Hongkongers will be disappointed by the changes to the city’s electoral system that were approved last week. That is putting it mildly
As Beijing embarks on a strategy to boost its domestic market and tech exports, it must be careful not to let nationalist sentiment get in the way of its plans.
Innovation and technological development drive productivity growth and thus are the top priority in the new five-year plan. Investment in frontier fields, R&D, infrastructure, green manufacturing and more form the core of plans for long-term growth.
Hong Kong needs a voice in a China that is becoming more economically integrated, and that cannot be provided by a local chief executive. Such leadership would integrate Hong Kong’s rather separate economy more closely into China, supporting local people as they build careers on the mainland.
If the government wants to diminish people’s electoral rights, it needs to give something back by improving their living standards and housing conditions.
With Beijing pushing ahead in its electoral shake-up of Hong Kong and universal suffrage further away than ever, room should be allowed for different voices and those with bright ideas, creative solutions and strong political skills