Exchanges between Hong Kong and US lawmakers

August 16, 2019 18:05
Several Hong Kong lawmakers will visit the United States next week to meet with members of the US Congress at the invitation of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. Photo: Bloomberg

Given that Hong Kong is an international metropolis, members of our local business, political and education sectors have been engaged in frequent exchanges with overseas counterparts.

And as a lawmaker, a regular part of my official duties is getting in touch with representatives from other parts of the world.

From Aug. 19 to 22, I and several of my colleagues in the Legislative Council are going to visit the United States and meet with members of the US Congress at the invitation of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation.

As we all know, the US is one of Hong Kong’s most important trading partners. And as a superpower, it has policies that often have far-reaching and profound implications for our city.

In fact, Hong Kong lawmakers have been in touch with our American counterparts on a regular basis.

Back in March this year, before the escalation of the controversy over the revision of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, I received a joint invitation sent by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau to attend an exchange seminar at a hotel in the state of Montana.

After months of communication and arrangement, the visit was finally confirmed in June.

What is noteworthy about this upcoming visit is that the US side has actually invited eight Hong Kong lawmakers to attend the event, including four from the pan-democratic camp and four from the pro-establishment bloc.

I believe such an arrangement was intended to give those on the US side an opportunity to have broad exposure to different viewpoints from across Hong Kong’s political spectrum.

Eventually, six Legco members have accepted the invitation to go to the US, namely James To Kun-sun of the Democratic Party; Dennis Kwok Wing-hang and Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu of the Civic Party; Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee of the New People’s Party; Felix Chung Kwok-pan of the Liberal Party, and myself.

On the US side, four Republican and Democratic members of the House of Representatives and the Senate so far have agreed to attend the exchange seminar. 

I believe this exchange will help us find out more about the wide variety of viewpoints from US political circles.

At the seminar, we are going to discuss with our American counterparts issues in which both sides are interested, including, among other topics, US-Hong Kong relations, the Sino-US trade war and the ongoing extradition bill saga in our city.

Since all of these issues concern the people of Hong Kong a lot, this upcoming US trip is exceptionally important.

Over the last few years, I, as chairman of the Legco Parliamentary Liaison Subcommittee, have received legislative representatives from countries and regions around the world such as the US, the European Union, Britain, Myanmar, Ireland, Belgium, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

The fact that so many foreign lawmakers are paying visits to Hong Kong indicates that the international community is paying great attention to the state of affairs in our city, and is also hoping to facilitate cooperation and interaction with Hong Kong in various aspects.

Meanwhile, I also led a Legco delegation to visit the British and Scottish parliaments last year.

Another thing that deserves our attention is that in recent years, my Legco colleagues are taking bilateral exchanges with members of the US Congress increasingly seriously.

And that explains why whenever US lawmakers visit Hong Kong, a large number of colleagues from both the pan-democratic and pro-Beijing camps meet with them.

It is my sincere hope that our frequent exchanges with US Congress members can not only enhance our mutual understanding, but also bring about positive and constructive results.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 15

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Legislative Council member from the education sector