The annual meetings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC), the so-called Two Sessions, are scheduled to take place in early March in Beijing.
One might still remember that last year, when both the CPPCC and NPC saw the beginning of a new term, Hong Kong delegates were subject to strict requirements on the dos and don’ts during the two meetings, as they were vested with the important task of voting new state leaders into office.
Wang Zhimin, director of Beijing’s liaison office, even reminded Hong Kong CPPCC members and NPC deputies beforehand to attend the meetings actively, and advised them to avoid taking leave casually or attending unnecessary socializing events, while they were in Beijing.
This year, according to a Hong Kong NPC deputy, he and his colleagues haven’t received any “kind reminder” yet that they should avoid taking leave or attending socials during the two meetings.
It is understood that some pro-establishment groups are going to hold socializing events this time like they usually did before, when political and business heavyweights all gather in Beijing.
Nevertheless, another NPC deputy has predicted that they might be, at any time, presented with that same “letter of reminder” after they have checked in at their hotels in Beijing and opened the doors of their rooms.
Another delegate also pointed out that restrictions on leave-taking and attending socializing events this time are likely to be as tight as last year’s, since Hong Kong delegates, apart from having to be present at the two sessions’ plenary meetings, are also “expected” by the central authorities to eagerly participate in tours of inspection in local provinces afterwards.
Luckily though, the NPC and CPPCC sessions this time are going to be shorter, and will last for no more than 10 days, since it isn’t the beginning of any new term for Chinese leaders this year. The duration of the annual sessions becomes normal as usual.
In the meantime, it is widely expected that the two sessions this year are likely to focus on the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Some media reports have suggested that the official planning outline for the Greater Bay Area is likely to be announced either before or after the meetings.
As such, one can expect that quite a number of delegates are going to move various key motions on the Greater Bay Area during the two sessions this time.
In the meantime, Hong Kong’s top leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, is set to meet the territory’s NPC and CPPCC delegates for two exchange sessions on the Greater Bay Area project. The meetings are likely to take place on Feb. 12 and 14.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 9
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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