27 October 2016
Hong Kong NPC deputy Rita Fan suggests that Hong Kong people move to Zhuhai, where home prices and the cost of living are much lower. Photos: Bloomberg, Xinhua
Hong Kong NPC deputy Rita Fan suggests that Hong Kong people move to Zhuhai, where home prices and the cost of living are much lower. Photos: Bloomberg, Xinhua

Why Rita Fan wants us to live in Zhuhai

How dare these Beijing loyalists tell us to move to China for a better quality of life.

If living in the mainland is so great, why don’t they be the first ones to move over there and prove their undying loyalty to their Communist Party bosses?

Hong Kong is our home, and no one can tell us where we should live.

Rita Fan, a full-blooded Beijing devotee, told mainland media that Hong Kong people may choose to live in Zhuhai in Guangdong province once the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is completed.

Hong Kong people, by moving to Zhuhai, would help in the territory’s integration into the mainland, she said.

Fan, the former head of the Legislative Council who is now a Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, said Hong Kong is too small to accommodate seven million people.

So she suggested that Hong Kong people move to Zhuhai, where home prices and the cost of living are much lower.

“It’s the trend that Hong Kong and China are becoming deeply integrated in terms of economy and way of living,” Fan told a media interview.

“The quality of life of Hong Kong people will improve once there is a good transport network connecting Hong Kong and Zhuhai.”

Fan also said Hong Kong should join hands with other mainland provinces to fight for “big business” overseas, adding that the territory is too small to compete for such contracts.

In conclusion, she said Hong Kong people should be united in seizing the opportunities arising from the Communist Party’s 13th Five-Year Plan and the One Belt One Road strategy for the sake of the city’s future.

True, Hong Kong is now under the rule of a special administrative regional government under the People’s Republic of China, but that should not mean the government or its supporters have the right to drive the people away to accommodate new immigrants from China.

Is that what the honorable deputy is trying to tell us? That we should make way for more mainlanders to live in our city?

Since the 1997 handover, the authorities have implemented a single-visa mechanism for Chinese resident to move to Hong Kong at a daily cap of 150 people.

So far more than 880,000 Chinese people have moved to the territory under this mechanism, accounting for 12.5 percent of our total population, according to a government document submitted to Legco in December 2015.

The new immigrants are competing for the government’s welfare services such as medical, social security as well as public housing, making it more and more difficult for locals to enjoy such benefits.

Let’s take public housing as an example. Currently, Hong Kong people need to wait at least three years to arrange a public housing flat. There are more than 290,000 people in the queue. 

And while the city is sorely in need of resources for its local population, the government is pouring billions of dollars to construct white elephants such as the high-speed rail link and the bridge connecting Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland at the behest of Beijing.

If only the government shifted the huge funding allocations for these projects to build public housing flats, it could immediately answer the needs of those 290,000 people who cannot afford their own homes.

Fan’s suggestion for Hong Kong people to move to Zhuhai reflects the government’s Beijing-oriented spending plan, which sacrifices the real needs of Hong Kong people.

From the Beijing loyalists’ point of view, Hong Kong people are a hindrance to their dream of a full integration of Hong Kong and China.

They are of the belief that Hong Kong cannot survive without China’s support. As such, Hong Kong should follow Beijing’s economic and political game plan for only in that way can the territory become an integral part of China.

During the Two Sessions in Beijing, Hong Kong delegates stressed the importance of the One Belt One Road policy for Hong Kong.

Shui On Group chairman Vincent Lo, for example, said Hong Kong should leverage its status as an international financial center to provide the financial and professional platforms for the One Belt One Road plan.

Lo believes that such business opportunities could be growth engine for the Hong Kong economy.

In the past decades, the Hong Kong economy relied mostly on its own efforts to explore the global market, including China. Businessmen bear their own risks to reap profits outside the territory.

But in recent years, as China rose to become the world’s second largest economy, Beijing saw it fit to intervene directly in Hong Kong’s development, from political arrangements to economic planning.

Beijing is tightening its grip on the territory in order to transform it into its own asset, rather than the home of Hong Kong people.

That’s probably the reason behind Fan’s push for Hong Kong people to move to Zhuhai: to provide more space for Beijing loyalists to dominate the territory’s development.

But despite all these subtle and not-so-subtle suggestions, Hong Kong people will never abandon their home.

Hong Kong people love their city, and will fight with their lives if need be to preserve its values and uniqueness in the world.

Beijing loyalists can follow the Communist Party as a manifestation of their political belief, but they cannot betray their identity.

They should act like Hong Kong people and work to defend the city’s core values of fairness, transparency and rule of law.

They should take the side of Hong Kong people and urge their bosses in Beijing to allow us to rule ourselves and live by ourselves.

All this talk of integration will only divide Hong Kong people.

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EJ Insight writer

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