18 November 2018
APEC leaders donned Chinese-style outfits at last year's summit in Beijing. Photo: AFP
APEC leaders donned Chinese-style outfits at last year's summit in Beijing. Photo: AFP

Chinese dress? CPPCC has weightier issues to deal with

The annual meetings of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are a stage on which Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing politicians can put on a show of loyalty to China and its Communist Party.

Some go to ridiculous lengths to assert their “patriotism”.

The latest example is a motion by a group of Hong Kong delegates to the CPPCC to ask the government to encourage mainlanders to wear traditional Chinese-style attire to mark the Lunar New Year.

They want the first day of Lunar New Year to be designated a Chinese-style dressing day. Chinese should be encouraged to dress in traditional clothing instead of western-style fashions, they say.

Wang Shucheng, who initiated the motion, is the chairman and publisher of Wen Wei Po, a Beijing mouthpiece in Hong Kong.

He said that as China rises as a global economic power, it should promote its own culture at home.

“We should design a costume to represent Chinese culture, to replace the currently popular western-style clothing,” Wang said in an interview with his newspaper, which carried a full-page feature on the motion.

“Don’t forget the western-style suit was introduced to China amid the sound of gunshots as the western powers occupied China,” he said.

Many Hongkongers, especially young people, are wondering what’s so important about promoting Chinese-style dressing that it should be brought up at the country’s key political event.

The plenary sessions are an opportunity for hundreds of thousands of representatives across China to gather and discuss the country’s key political and economic issues.

So it is rather odd for a Hong Kong representative to table such a topic for the CPPCC, China’s top political advisory body, to discuss.

Yes, the CPPCC is not as important as the NPC, China’s legislature, but that doesn’t mean its members need to spend time on such a meaningless topic.

Chinese leaders have, in fact, worn Chinese-style outfits at different international events to promote the country’s traditional culture to the global community.

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in China last year, the hosts designed Chinese-style outfits for all the leaders of the APEC countries.

The CPPCC representatives have gone too far.

While some might see it as shameful for the Chinese people to have adopted western styles of clothing in the late Qing dynasty after the country was invaded by foreign powers, we shouldn’t forget that communism is also an import from the West.

So where do we draw the line?

Many Hong Kong representatives spoke on other subjects during the two sessions in Beijing, attracting the attention of the media.

Peter Lam Kin-ngok, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, called for the implementation of “patriotic education” in Hong Kong schools as well as the introduction of mandatory instruction in Putonghua from the kindergarten level.

Why should Lam bring up the education policy of Hong Kong in front of officials in Beijing?

The city’s representatives at the two meetings in Beijing should read between the lines of what Premier Li Keqiang said in his annual policy address Thursday.

In the part relating to Hong Kong, he said for the first time that the principle of “one country, two systems” must comply with China’s constitution and Hong Kong’s Basic Law.

“We will give full support to the chief executives and governments of the Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions in accordance with the law, pursue economic development, improve citizens’ livelihoods, advance democracy and promote social harmony,” Li said in his speech.

Li’s speech did not answer Hongkongers’ appeal for true democracy. As the idea of self-determination for Hong Kong gains popularity among its young people, the premier found it necessary to explicitly link the national constitution to Hong Kong’s political development.

As members of the NPC and CPPCC, the city’s representatives should spend more time playing a constructive role by reflecting what the people of Hong Kong think about Beijing’s policies regarding the city, including the thoughts of the opposition.

Instead, they chose to put forward a motion that only made people laugh and failed to make any concrete contribution to Hong Kong’s relations with the mainland.

– Contact us at [email protected]


EJ Insight writer

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