An absurd Hong Kong report by UK MPs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING  |  2015-03-06 16:58:16

An absurd

Hong Kong report by UK MPs

 

 

By Li Zhihui

 

 

There has never been so absurd a report as the one by UK MPs claiming a region that used to be under British colonial rule for nearly a century has become less free since its return to China.

Under China’s Basic Law and decisions of its top legislature, more than five million qualified voters in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will be able to have a say in who will become their chief executive in 2017 through the “one man, one vote” election. This was never realized under British colonial rule.

Despite the Chinese central government’s commitment to achieving the goal, however, UK parliament’s foreign affairs committee released a report on Thursday of March 5, saying Hong Kong is facing a “crisis of governance” and its high degree of autonomy from China is being “eroded”.

It follows Beijing’s decision not to use a public nomination system for the election of the next HKSAR chief executive, and police’s dispersal of protesters who had gathered in Hong Kong in objection to the decision.

The wording of the report shows that these British MPs are hostile to Hong Kong’s development and are still laboring under a colonial mindset.

They imply in it that the Hong Kong people would rather their government be loyal to the United Kingdom and that the region should follow instructions from politicians of its former ruler.

Remarks without basis in research and prudent review of history mislead the public and risk dangerous results.

The esteemed members of parliament should be reminded that since Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997, the region has maintained long-time prosperity and is developing a system of democratic governance based on the “one country, two systems” principle, as agreed with the British government at the time of Hong Kong’s handover.

The central government has made special arrangements to fully protect the fundamental rights and freedom of the Hong Kong people.

For instance, it allows permanent residents with overseas nationality to enjoy election rights. It is also taking concrete steps to achieve universal suffrage for selecting the chief executive from a pool of candidates chosen by a broadly representative nominating committee by 2017.

The Chinese government also encourages Hong Kong to take its advantage in legal system and culture to promote the country’s development.

The constitutional reform of Hong Kong will develop on the right track under the guideline of the Basic Law rather than UK “guidance”.

The MPs should also be reminded that more than three decades ago, Margaret Thatcher’s government proposed to concede sovereignty to China in exchange for keeping the territory under British administration. This was flatly rejected by the Chinese government.

Today, any attempts to interfere in Hong Kong affairs and impose pressure on the Chinese government with so-called “international standards” are doomed to fail.

Any legitimate application of “international standards” would in fact require Chinese administrators in Hong Kong to be patriotic, as demanded of UK leaders when they are asked to state their loyalty to their own country when they are sworn in.

With comprehensive jurisdiction over the HKSAR, China will not squeeze the region’s autonomy, but the illusion that Hong Kong is under full autonomy must be cast off.

China welcomes constructive suggestions on finetuning Hong Kong’s political system and is willing to hear public opinions on the issue.

But external forces should stop making irresponsible remarks which can only cause economic and social chaos without bringing any benefit to the Hong Kong people.

It is regrettable that the UK MPs’ report was released. It is not Hong Kong’s autonomy but the UK’s reputation that has been “eroded.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING  |  2015-03-06 21:20:19

 

Attitude towards

constitutional reform

touchstone of love for Hong Kong

 

By Zha Wenye and Fu Shuangqi

 

 

With Hong Kong residents so close to the historic threshold of “one person one vote” for electing their own chief executive, the attitude towards constitutional reform is a touchstone of love for the oriental jewel.

Disturbances over the proposed constitutional reform in Hong Kong hardly represent the core discussion over whether or not the changes abide by the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), which was enacted after repeated discussions and consultations between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and took effect as one constitutional law after the People’s Republic of China (PRC) resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997.

Although continuing a capitalist path following the “one country, two systems” political arrangement, the HKSAR is part of China and subject to the Chinese central authority.

Both the PRC Constitution and the HKSAR Basic Law are the constitutional basis defining legislative boundaries in the special administrative region of the PRC.

Any proposal on improving universal suffrage has to be within the constitutional framework of the Basic Law and the election principles decreed by the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the top legislature of the PRC.

The Basic Law stipulates that the method for selecting the HKSAR chief executive shall be specified in accordance with the principle of “gradual and orderly progress.” In a “gradual and orderly” way, the aim is to “progress.”

Mocking the Chinese national legislature’s decision as a “sham” which does not allegedly “meet international standards,” some HKSAR legislators are threatening to veto the constitutional reform plan, which will be brought to the HKSAR Legislative Council for a vote in June.

The second round of public consultation on constitutional reform will conclude Saturday. During the first round, the HKSAR government received 120,000 written opinions from among 7 million Hong Kong residents.

The latest survey by the Hong Kong-based One Country Two Systems Research Institute showed 60 percent of respondents welcomed the existing constitutional reform plan.

Before and after making the decision on constitutional reform in the HKSAR, the NPC Standing Committee organized discussions and briefings for hearing more diversified voices from the Hong Kong public, exchanging views with them.

If the constitutional reform plan is endorsed by the Legislative Council, Hong Kong will have one historic step forward in advancing democracy. Realization of universal suffrage in Hong Kong’s chief executive election in 2017 would lead to better governance and more effective allocation of resources for enlivening its economy and improving residents’ livelihood.

The chaotic and destructive Occupy Central movement last year was nothing progressive, instead dividing social classes and obstructing political consensus from being shaped.

What Britain failed to grant the Hong Kong people in choosing their own leaders during the British reign from 1840 to 1997 might be achieved in Hong Kong only two decades after it was returned to China.

Genuine lovers for Hong Kong should welcome the constitutional reform plan, which pushes forward democracy on the land, in a “gradual and orderly” way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING  |  2015-03-06 20:40:03

 

Finding a subtle balance

for China’s economy

 

By Liu Xinyong

 

 

A country’s economy is like a moving bicycle: If it goes too fast, it may lose control; too slow and it may fall on the ground.

China’s economy has witnessed super-high growth over the three decades following the country’s reforms in 1978, but at the cost of the environment, quality and efficiency.

With a faltering global economy following the financial crisis and increasing difficulties for stabilizing its growth, both reasons behind the China’s “new normal,” it’s high time that the country should make a change.

The lowered growth expectation for 2015 is a perfect start for China to strike the subtle balance between diversified facets of social and economic development.

China’s 2015 growth target was lowered to around 7 percent — a level not seen since 2004 — in a government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday of March 5.

This eye-catching change reflects the Chinese government’s determination and confidence to coordinate the speed of growth with economic restructuring, pushing forward overall reforms and letting the people share the fruits of development.

It seems like China is going backward with its growth target, but it aims at achieving steady and sustainable growth with higher quality and efficiency.

A couple of other targets for this year provide proof. With a lower growth forecast, the country wants to create more than 10 million jobs, the same as last year’s target, and energy consumption per unit of GDP must continue to decline.

Juggling many tasks at a time takes skill. The Chinese government is showing the world what it can achieve with the conception of new normal, which is more than just words, but also a sober understanding of its current situation and the urgent need to change.

As a simple response to the question of how to deal with the new normal, China boiled it down to two targets — maintaining medium-high-level growth rate and moving toward medium-high-level development.

China will not allow the economy to free fall. The government wants its people to have jobs and live better lives, its companies to make money and contribute to society and lead the people in achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Along the path, the country will not let outdated development patterns stand in the way by emphasizing the quality and efficiency of growth.

To achieve the subtle balance, the government is also seeking new engines to drive the world’s second largest economy, including entrepreneurship and innovation that will give full play to everyone’s diligence and wisdom.

China is still growing up, both in term of economic size and wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

renxing   //////////////   renxing   //////////////   renxing   //////////////   renxing

任性

 

renxing   //////////////   renxing   //////////////   renxing   //////////////   renxing

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING  |  2015-03-06 15:22:41

 

Using buzzword

shows a mass-friendly approach

in political discourse

 

By Ren Ke

 

 

Official documents are characterized by formal language, so when an Internet buzzword was used in China’s annual government work report, observers were quick to laud this people-friendly approach to political discourse.

The government work report was delivered by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday of March 5 to the third annual session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC).

“It goes without saying that powers should not be held without good reason,” Li said, choosing to appropriate the word “renxing” (任性), which although common in the Chinese lexicon has not been used in this way before.

Rexing is often used to describe rich people who can do or buy what they want.

On Monday, Lü Xinhua, spokesman for the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the top political advisory body, also used renxing to describe the fight against corruption. The interpreter translated it as capricious.

Li and Lü’s use of renxing can be taken as a sign that unruly officials will not be tolerated and the public are integral to the countercorruption campaign.

Although rare, this is not the first time that Chinese authorities have used the language of the people as a way to make politics more understandable and closer to the public.

CPC Central Committee General Secretary Xi Jinping is known for his use of metaphors to explain political and military concepts. In the “mass line” campaign from 2013 to 2014, Xi described the rectification of the undesirable workstyles as “look into the mirror, straighten the attire, take a bath and seek remedies.”

This approach was also used by Chairman Mao. On one occasion he described foreign policy as “inviting guests after cleaning the house”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING  |  2015-03-06 09:07:35

 

Balancing representation

at the Great Hall of the People

 

By Wang Zichen

 

 

In the same room that Pony Ma, chief executive of Tencent Holdings, proposes wider application of mobile Internet technology, Xue Haiying, a sanitation worker from Tianjin Municipality, is pushing for better housing and medicare for her colleagues.

Ma and Xue joined more than 2,900 other deputies at the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, in the Great Hall of the People to deliberate on the government work report. They are expected to vote on its adoption before the annual session concludes on March 15.

If, as the New York Times lamented in a recent report, billionaires like Ma “ensure the rich are represented in China’s legislature”, deputies like Xue, who earns around 200 US dollars a month cleaning the streets, ensure laborers “access to the highest echelons of the party and the government”.

China’s legislature is not without room to improve its composition, but it has been making big strides in recent years. Farmers and factory workers made up 13.42 percent of deputies to the 12th NPC, a 5.18-percent rise from the 11th NPC.

In 2010, China amended its Electoral Law to ensure both rural and urban areas adopt the same ratio of deputies, ending a practice where each rural deputy represented a population four times that of an urban deputy.

Just as eradicating the urban-rural gap in NPC representation, China has committed to narrow the obvious gap between rich and poor by increasing minimum wages, promoting medical insurance and providing affordable housing – priorities that would greatly benefit deputies like Xue.

It is important to remember there is a process for improvement, especially for a country with 1.37 billion people.

Good entrepreneurs, who would be called job creators by some, should not be excluded from the process just because of the profits they reap.

During China’s legislature, Xue is an equally commendable representative of China’s honest, industrious laborers as Ma, the founder of the world’s second largest Internet company, whose business revolutionized the way Chinese people interact with one another.

Just as every other challenge posed to China in its path forward requires a difficult balance, the same can be said about balancing representation at the National People’s Congress.

Air quality improvement, a hugely popular issue for this NPC session, is a prime example. To address the smog engulfing Beijing and other major cities, heavy industries have to be shut down in places like Hebei Province, where residents would lose jobs that are unlikely be replaced by a new industry for a long time.

Therefore it’s very important — and delicate — for China to reconcile everything, from environmental protection to industrial development, from Ma’s mobile Internet to Xue’s social security.

It is the real challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING  |  2015-03-06 12:56:49

 

Preserving

Lei Feng’s legacy today

 

By Liu Tong and Wang Zichen

 

 

China observed the 52nd “Lei Feng’s Day” on Thursday of March 5, when people across the country helped others and volunteered in remembrance of Chairman Mao’s call to “learn from Comrade Lei Feng.”

But five decades later, the legacy left by Lei Feng, a soldier lauded for his selflessness, is complicated. Some have asked whether there is still a need to learn from him. The answer is yes.

Some people argue that Lei is a mere propaganda tool, while others say his “spirit” is obsolete in today’s day and age.

They are narrow-minded. Casting doubt on Lei’s credibility simply because the government promotes him as a role model does not do justice to Lei’s spirit or the selflessness and dedication of today’s volunteers.

Lei lived in a time without social media. If he lived today, he would have to avoid much more temptation, but we still see the power of his spirit in many “contemporary Lei Fengs.”

In Liaoning, where Lei is buried, miner Guo Mingyi made a name for himself by helping those in need. Guo spends around half of his annual salary sponsoring 180 children to attend school. He has also been a regular blood donor for more than 20 years. In turn, Guo’s deeds have inspired many others across the country.

Preserving Lei Feng’s legacy is necessary when today’s young people hesitate to help elderly people and would-be good samaritans must worry about the consequences of being a “good guy.”

The case of Meng Ruipeng, a student from North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, shows the slippery slope of moral decay.

Meng died while saving the lives of two drowning girls in February, but the girls’ mother denied his heroic act out of fear she may have to compensate Meng’s family.

Though she finally conceded that Meng saved the girls, the incident has surely not helped convince people to “learn from Lei Feng.”

Society is never short of good will. More than a thousand people attended Meng’s funeral — a sign that people admire good samaritans.

The purpose of promoting the spirit of Lei Feng is not to lift Lei as an individual, but to advocate good morality.

Some people would do good deeds even without Lei. But some people only mock, instead of reflecting on what they can learn from him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING  |  2015-03-06 22:30:30

 

Lazy officials

must be pushed to be assiduous

 

By Li Laifang, Huang Yan, Xu Yang and Liu Jinhui

 

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed to expose and hold accountable those who are indolent, sloppy, or remiss of their duties while delivering his annual government work report to the country’s top legislature Thursday.

The statement sends a clear signal to officials who are reluctant to fulfil their responsibilities properly: to serve the people wholeheartedly is not just a slogan. It is a requirement. Civil servants, officials in particular, are paid by tax payers to perform their duties rather than complain or sleep on the job.

The importance of the premier’s warning stands out as China faces heavy downward pressure of economic growth this year.

After a 24-year low of 7.4 percent, China’s economy, the world’s second largest, has entered a new normal of a medium-high speed driven by quality, efficiency and innovation.

To accomplish new growth targets depends on a thorough implementation of reform measures and work plans mapped out by the top leadership. What the country needs is devotion instead of dwindling motivation.

The bureaucratic inertia of some public servants, including leading cadres, is a dangerous obstacle to the country’s ambitious reforms, as it may have even worse impact than material forms of corruption. China must resolutely and strictly deal with a “new corruption” — the laziness of some officials.

Idle work style among some officials is a kind of resistance against the country’s ongoing reform and anti-corruption campaign, which targets interest groups as well as high-ranking “tigers” and minor “flies.”

It is a fact that a small portion of officials traded their power for illegal benefits in the past. Their motivation to fulfill their normal duties is gone with such gains no longer available due to the intensive corruption crackdown.

China must take measures to remove the stumbling block to realize its reform and development plans.

Over the past two years, thousands of officials have been punished for their undesirable work styles such as formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance. They are warnings to lazy officials.

The Communist Party of China has vowed zero tolerance to corruption. For the sake of maintaining economic momentum and anti-corruption concerns, no space should be spared for any civil servants, including officials, who indulge themselves and are lazy and incompetent at their posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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