Christine Loh, head of Hong Kong’s Civic Exchange think-tank: “I think Hong Kong people have never had a problem to think of themselves as ethnic Chinese… but there has been a discomfort to thinking of themselves about being nationals of the People’s Republic of China, not because it’s ‘Chinese’ but because it’s ruled by a government that they fear.”
In related news, President Hu Jintao, who is visiting Hong Kong for the first time in five years, will probably never get to see the protestors who want him to hear them out. Pro-democracy groups planning to protest at events attended by the president say the police have assigned them areas too far from the venue to make their voices heard. From the SCMP:
“Our protest target is clear – Hu Jintao,” Lee said. “If the police don’t let him hear our protest and see our banners, they are not respecting our right of expression.”
The protest organised by at least 10 pro-democracy parties and groups will call on Hu to end the suppression of democracy activists in the mainland, and call for a thorough and creditable investigation of the death of democracy activist Li Wangyang. Organisers sought police permission for 3,000 people to attend the protest.
Police approved the protest route in Wan Chai, starting from Luard Road outside Southorn Playground and passing the Luk Kwok Centre to reach the convention centre, but there was disagreement on the end point protest zone, on which the organisers have applied for an appeal.
“We want a place where all guests entering the venue, especially Hu and [chief executive-elect] Leung Chun-ying can hear us,” said Lee. “It’s like a repeat of (arrangements during Vice-Premier )Li Keqiang’s visit. Are they trying to silence all opposing voices in Hong Kong?”
Hong Kong police are expected to mobilise about 6,000 officers during President Hu’s three-day visit. His personal security detail will have a three-tier arrangement to keep him safe from the protestors who are likely to follow him wherever he goes.
During his visit, the president will introduce a new package of policies to increase economic ties between the mainland and the territory, which according to Shanghai Daily will include the following:
The Chinese government will encourage joint ventures between the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges and their Hong Kong counterpart, and allow the listing of exchange-traded funds in Hong Kong and the mainland.
Moving forward to promote yuan exposure in the offshore markets, China will also improve the development of offshore yuan products in Hong Kong to support trade and investment settlement in the currency, facilitating long-term investment from the city in the mainland’s capital markets.
To further boost economic and trade cooperation, the central government will sign another appendix agreement to the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement with Hong Kong, and push firms from the mainland and the city to invest abroad together.
Hong Kong colleges are encouraged to set up educational institutions in the province. Youth centers will be set up in Guangzhou and Shenzhen to expand exchanges between students from both sides. Hong Kong financial institutions are allowed to set up consumer finance companies in the province, especially in Shenzhen, while a pilot financial reform program will be implemented in the Pearl River Delta region to promote cooperation between the city and the province.