Date
25 September 2017
Commentator Willy Lam says Beijing will not grant any more economic incentives to Hong Kong. Another expert says any such incentives will be aimed at achieving mutual benefit. Photos: HKEJ, internet
Commentator Willy Lam says Beijing will not grant any more economic incentives to Hong Kong. Another expert says any such incentives will be aimed at achieving mutual benefit. Photos: HKEJ, internet

Beijing may drop HK ‘sweetener’ policy

Beijing is likely to change its policy on economic incentives for Hong Kong in the aftermath of the two-month-long democracy protests.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is scheduled to visit Beijing on Thursday and Friday to brief the central government on developments in Hong Kong, Apple Daily reported Monday.

The shorter-than-usual visit means Leung will not be lobbying mainland ministries for favorable policies on Hong Kong, the report said, citing observers.

In the past, such visits lasted three to four days.

Willy Lam, a political affairs commentator, said Beijing has adopted a tough tone after the Hong Kong protest movement.

In a speech in Macau on Friday to mark the 15th anniversary of its handover to China, Xi underlined “one country, two systems” which was an implicit reprimand of Hong Kong, Lam said.

He said the central government may not continue to give Hong Kong economic incentives.

Huang Guojian, a former Hong Kong delegate to the National People’s Congress, said Leung’s shorter visit is not Beijing’s punishment for the protests.

Leung had visited ministries during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing in November, he said.

Huang said the worst is past and the Hong Kong government is ready for a second round of public consultations on political reform.

Meanwhile, Terence Chong, executive director of the Institute of Global Economics and Finance, said looser restrictions on mainland tourists to Hong Kong and other support measures from Beijing have not benefited all Hong Kong people. 

In recent years, Beijing’s policy has shifted from one-way support to one aimed at achieving mutual benefit, he said.

However, he said Hong Kong continues to benefit from its role as a middleman between the world and the mainland, especially in the globalization of the renminbi.

As long as Beijing does not shut out Hong Kong, the latter has room to grow in the vast mainland market, he said.

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