To celebrate the 40th anniversary of China’s economic reforms launch, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is set to lead a hundred-strong delegation to Shenzhen and Beijing between Nov. 10 and 12.
The Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau has already begun to send invitations to designated members of the delegation.
However, there is talk that only four members of the Executive Council (Exco) are on the list.
According to sources, the four members are Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, former chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority; Laura Cha Shih May-lung, the incumbent chairman of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd and a former vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission; Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, Liberal Party chairman and lawmaker; and Martin Liao Cheung-kong, convener of the pro-establishment camp at the Legislative Council.
The sources say Exco convenor Bernard Charnwut Chan and another council member Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPAHK) won’t be on the list.
Interestingly though, Jeffrey Lam’s 94-year-old father, seasoned industrialist and Forward Winsome Industries founder L.T. Lam, has been invited to join the delegation.
It is understood that a key criterion this time for determining who would be in the delegation is the individual’s contributions to the mainland economic reforms over the past 40 years, and not the person’s contemporary social or political status.
That possibly explains why L.T. Lam, but not his son, is invited, because he was among the first bunch of Hong Kong entrepreneurs who opened manufacturing plants in the mainland back in the 1980s.
In particular, L.T. Lam’s company was among those that introduced the monster-hit “Transformers” toy franchise into the mainland’s market in those days, and he has since then been dubbed the father of Transformers in China.
It is said that while the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council will arrange for transport and accommodation for members of the delegation during their visit, they will have to pay for their own flight tickets to and from Beijing.
As members of the delegation will be granted audience with high-ranking state leaders, they have been told that they will have to abide by strict rules during the trip.
Among other things, they aren’t allowed to send someone else to represent them on the delegation, nor can they bring their own “entourage” with them during the trip.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 1
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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