10th May 2013
<Confidential Documents Expose, China’s “feelings” Must be Taking Into Account in All Policies>
CY Leung, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR who claimed to be “siding with Hong Kong”, secretly ordered all civil servants to pander to China. Confidential internal government documents show that all bureaus have received a standing order saying that as of June 2013, any policy submitted to the Executive Council must include an assessment of the likely reaction of the government and the people of China to it. Lawmakers condemn Leung for betraying the people of Hong Kong. A public affairs commentator said this is presenting Hong Kong to China for their interference of Hong Kong’s domestic affairs.
The two confidential memoranda issued by the Executive Council (ExCo) and Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB), which were distributed to all government bureaus and departments, said that as of 1st June 2013, all policies submitted to the ExCo and CMAB for discussion must include an assessment of the expected reaction China may have to each policy.
The memoranda also show that each bureau and government department has to use common sense to assess how the government, public, media and other relevant parties in China would react to a proposed policy and how would the proposed policy affect China’s general perception of Hong Kong. The memorandas also said that public relations measures in China have to be proposed in each policy paper.
Delete the Section in Policy Papers Submit to LegCo
The memoranda listed two examples. First example: propose to increase tunnel fee –which is a Hong Kong internal affair, but the bureau has to write in the policy paper that the proposed policy does not affect China. Second example: propose to include “Hong Kong land for Hong Kong people” measures to a plot of land for residential use – even if the assessment shows that people in China would not object, the China offices of the bureau should prepare to response to enquiries raised by people in China. The memoranda also said that such assessments should be taken out of the documents submitted to the Legislative Council explaining ExCo’s decision.
According to multiple sources within the government, these memoranda were based on instructions by CY Leung and ExCo. They believe that this could be related to the newly imposed formula powder export restriction which triggered an angry response from China’s government and some of its people. In the past, bureaus would consider elements in China if necessary when they make policies, mostly policies related to security and constitutional matters. Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Environmental Bureau and other bureaus that make policies related to the people’s livelihood will be affected by the mandatory requirement in this memorandum, “we ban food from China that is harmful to people, for example. If we need to consider China’s reaction and the feeling of the people in China, we cannot ban it anymore! Tightening the individual tourist scheme and multi-entry visa are simply impossible.”
Another source said there are many conflicts between Hong Kong people’s interests and the feelings of people in China when it comes to policies, “in the future, if some policies are supported by the people of Hong Kong, but are not welcomed by China, is the Hong Kong SAR government going to abandon these policies?”
Gary Fan Kwok-wai, legislative council member from Neo Democrats, asked “does the Hong Kong SAR government led by CY Leung want to sell out the people of Hong Kong? The focus of (Hong Kong) policies should be on the interests of the people of Hong Kong, not the response of the people in China. This is toadying to the Chinese government!” Cyd Ho Sau-lan from the Labour Party questioned the targets of this assessment, “would Tan Zuoren’s* reaction be included in the assessment? Is the demand for overturning the verdict on the June 4 something that the Hong Kong SAR government would include in their assessment?” CY Leung publicly said that the people of Hong Kong are the government’s priorities. Cyd Ho Sau-lan said that the government should be siding with the people of Hong Kong and not bending over backwards for China.
Opening the Door to China’s Interference in HK’s Internal Affairs
Wan Chin, a public affairs commentator who used to be a senior civil servant, pointed out that it is ridiculous to ask civil servants in Hong Kong to evaluate China’s reactions to Hong Kong policies, this is the same as giving China a free pass to interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs. There are existing structures and procedures within the Hong Kong SAR government for dealing with China affairs, “(civil servants) will be under tremendous stress and nervous about issues they should not have to worry about in order to fulfill this mandatory requirement”.
Tan Zuoren, a writer and dissident, who was found guilty of “Inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to five years imprisonment after publishing articles to call for full investigation of the number of death of children in the Sichuan earthquake in 2008