Two Sessions refers to China's annual parliamentary meetings, where the two main political bodies of China - the National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) - reveal plans for China's policies involving the economy, military, trade, diplomacy, the environment and more. Normally held in March, the 2020 gatherings were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Restoring the economy that was badly hit by the Covid-19 outbreak is expected to be a top priority for China's leaders.
Pointing to resistance to central government initiatives stretching back to 2003, city leader applauds officials’ ‘courage and determination to make things right’.
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong all forecast at least 6 per cent rise for year ahead, but as in 2020, central government is unlikely to set a nominal goal for GDP growth, policy advisers say.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang cautions against ‘blindly launching’ new projects in favour of scientific assessment and reasonable growth.
Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa noted that China had not ‘intruded in Hong Kong affairs for the past 22 years’.
Recent developments clearly show Beijing leaning towards strengthening the ‘one country, two systems’ principle as applied to Hong Kong. The central government has never deviated from this path – an obvious truth which the courts seem not to grasp.
Premier Li Keqiang says China’s economy will return to growth this year and surpass 100 trillion yuan (US$15.2 trillion), but faces ‘great pressure’ to ensure employment and livelihoods.
The trade war and the Covid-19 pandemic have already posed challenges to China’s economy. However, in the long term, a shrinking workforce due to its ageing population will pose the biggest obstacle to growth.
China’s real estate sector may have peaked and will likely become a drag on growth during economic shocks such as the current pandemic, a recent report co-authored by Harvard University’s Kenneth Rogoff argues.
The enactment of the national security law should convince Beijing that the conditions are ideal for launching the political reform process
The pan-democrats’ failure to compromise on Article 23 and political reform, and their unconscionable silence on protest violence gave Beijing the opportunity to tighten its grip on Hong Kong.
Modern-day despotic governments use the new era globalised media and social media to their advantage, instead of having to rely on violence and bloodshed. Hong Kong is witnessing the noose tighten on its autonomy and heading towards shades of autocracy that Singaporeans are familiar with.
American Chamber of Commerce in China says two superpowers should give up ‘unbridled competition’ and be better world leaders on pandemic.
They say it goes further than mainland Chinese legislation and could affect Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre, but pursuing offences committed outside the city may be difficult.
The passage of the law indicates that Beijing will no longer negotiate with Hongkongers, who are now at its mercy. Pressure from the international community on ‘one country, two systems’ is Hong Kong’s last line of defence.
Brussels says legislation passed on Tuesday ‘risks seriously undermining the city’s high degree of autonomy’.
Hong Kong’s protest movement shares some similarities with those in Spain and Brazil in recent years. These largely decentralised, youth-led movements demanded better governance, an end to inequality and other reforms beyond the national security law’s scope.
Other professionals around me speak of migrating for a better future for their children. I am torn. This is the ‘barren rock’ my father and his generation – and many before them – transformed into a prosperous city. We have inherited this. Now we must pass it on.
Despite concerns about broad definitions and jurisdiction, Hong Kong needs the national security law for the protection of its people and the nation. In its favour, Hong Kong has an independent judiciary and a vocal press to guard its core values and freedoms.
As some Hong Kong firms consider an exit strategy in the wake of Beijing’s national security law, Asian cities are angling for a piece of the action.