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Zhang Dejiang

Zhang Dejiang to visit Hong Kong housing estate during visit

State leader said to seek better understanding of city’s innovation technology and youth ventures

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 May, 2016, 9:52pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 May, 2016, 6:53pm

State leader Zhang Dejiang is to visit Science Park and a public housing estate during his three-day visit in Hong Kong next week, thePost has learned.

A source close to the matter said Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung and his assistants met mainland security authorities in Shenzhen on Tuesday night. Both parties finalised the itinerary and security plan for Zhang, the chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, who is to land at Hong Kong International Airport around noon next Tuesday.

“Most of Zhang’s activities will be held at the Grand Hyatt hotel and the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, but he’ll also visit the Science Park in Tai Po and a public housing estate,” the source said. “Zhang wants to understand the development of Hong Kong’s innovation technology and youth ventures.”

Hong Kong pan-democrats set to meet state leader Zhang Dejiang

Zhang’s gesture came after Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, urged Hong Kong delegates to engage with the city’s youth when Yu launched the mainland’s two-week-long political high season with the opening of the political advisory body’s annual session in March.

Hong Kong police are to deploy 6,000 officers daily to protect Zhang, with the risk level for him raised to the maximum “very high” during the three-day visit. The manpower is to focus on Hong Kong Island, the airport and Kowloon East, but it was not confirmed if the visit to a public housing estate included a family visit or if that would take place in Kowloon East.

Over the past 13 years, at least five senior Beijing officials have visited local residents’ homes during their visits to the territory. Then-president Hu Jintao visited two families in Ma On Shan. Then-vice-premier Li Keqiang made a home visit in Kwun Tong’s Laguna City in 2011, when he was to officiate the opening ceremony of the East Asian Games.

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The city’s No. 2 official urged pan-democratic legislators not to pass up the opportunity to meet Zhang at a banquet next Wednesday, after many of them said they would not attend.

The administrationinvited 10 lawmakers, including four pan-democrats, to a pre-dinner reception with Zhang.

Speaking to the press on the final day of her visit to Sichuan province, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor stressed that any dialogue would have “a positive effect”, but said problems could not all be resolved in one meeting.

Lam’s call came as the Labour Party’s Cyd Ho Sau-lan said she was reconsidering whether to attend the reception, while the Legco president also announced he would cut short the legislature’s weekly meeting on May 18 to accommodate the banquet.

Ho had said she would not attend the reception, dismissing it as a courtesy meeting.

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But on Thursday she said she might change her mind after finding out the reception would last longer than she expected.

Meanwhile, the Legislative Council meeting next Wednesday is to be suspended at 5pm to allow lawmakers to attend the banquet.

“The fact that Legco members have been invited reflects the constitutional status … of the Legislative Council,” Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said while making the announcement.

In response, Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan called Tsang’s move “unnecessary”, saying that it was more important for lawmakers to attend meetings than the banquet.