China's Hu in Hong Kong for handover anniversary

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday urged Hong Kong's restive people to embrace the motherland as he visited the financial citadel for the 15th anniversary of its return to rule by Beijing.

Hu, whose three-day visit is his last as president before a key leadership reshuffle in Beijing, will preside over the inauguration of Leung Chun-ying as the city's next chief executive on Sunday.

But while he vowed to "walk more" and "see more" in Hong Kong, the first order of business on Hu's trip was a parade in front of the massed ranks of China's secretive military garrison.

The president stood to attention in an open-top vehicle, microphones arrayed in front of him, as he moved down the line of People's Liberation Army personnel, tanks and missile launchers in Hong Kong's remote New Territories.

"Thank you for your efforts comrades!" Hu, wearing a green uniform, shouted. The PLA members answered with a cry of "serve the people!" A huge banner aloft read "Love the motherland, love Hong Kong".

But polls indicate the highest level of anti-China discontent among Hong Kong's seven million populace since the 1997 handover from Britain, and the reaction on social media to the military show was caustic.

"It feels like we are in North Korea," one Hong Konger wrote on Facebook.

Several groups plan protests for Hu's visit despite a stifling police deployment. A march on Sunday is expected to draw tens of thousands demanding greater democracy and accusing Beijing of interfering in local affairs.

Authorities have erected giant barricades measuring more than two metres (6.5 feet) high around Hu's five-star hotel. Well away, one small knot of protestors on Friday kept up a clamour through a loudhailer.

Hu's schedule in Hong Kong has not been made known, apparently due to security concerns, apart from his expected attendance at Sunday's inauguration ceremony and a variety show to celebrate the anniversary on Saturday.

Prior to the PLA inspection, the Chinese president held a closed-door meeting with outgoing Chief Executive Donald Tsang and thanked him for his service. Tsang is stepping down after seven years in office.

His successor Leung was chosen by an election committee stacked with pro-Beijing elites, and many among the ordinary public say they feel disenfranchised amid a widening rich-poor gap and an influx of mainland cash.

"In the coming two days, I hope to be able to walk more, see more and personally feel the development of Hong Kong, understand the life and expectations of the Hong Kong people," Hu said on his arrival.

He said Hong Kong had achieved "significant" development since the handover and that the "one country, two systems" model, which guarantees the southern Chinese city a semi-autonomous status, had been upheld.

Hu, who last visited Hong Kong in 2007 for the 10th handover anniversary, also urged unity between Hong Kongers and their northern neighbours.

"The central government would like to use the valuable experience gained over the past 15 years with the people of all sectors in Hong Kong to unite together and look forward to further promote the practice of 'one country two systems'," the Chinese leader said.

Under the "two systems" principle, Hong Kong retains its own judicial and financial frameworks, with civil liberties including the right to demonstrate and press freedom not seen on the mainland.

Hu is expected to announce measures aimed at enhancing economic cooperation between Hong Kong and Beijing during his visit, as part of China's use of the city as a testing ground to turn the yuan into a global currency.

Chinese officials on Friday announced incentives for a financial zone in Shenzhen, close to the Hong Kong border, which will be jointly developed by both sides. It is due for completion by 2020.

Despite the closer integration, unease has been growing as Hong Kongers chafe at an influx of newly rich Chinese mainlanders, accusing them of taking everything from school places and maternity beds to baby milk formula.

A telephone poll of more than 1,000 people released last week by the University of Hong Kong showed mistrust among Hong Kongers toward Beijing at a new post-handover high of 37 percent.

By contrast, a poll released in August 2008 after the Beijing Olympics showed the figure at a relatively low 14 percent, when nationalistic sentiment was strong throughout China.

Prior to the handover, mistrust levels stood at 44 percent in May 1997.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. That would be the situation on July 16 between 3 and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a …

  • Subaru XV now priced among sedans
    Subaru XV now priced among sedans

    Motor Image Philipinas (MIP), the authorized distributor of Subaru in the country, has positioned its brand new crossover SUV, the Subaru XV, well within the sedan segment’s price range. This move, according to MIP, was made to give the public an opportunity to experience the brand’s unique automotive technologies by lowering its price. Buyers of […] The post Subaru XV now priced among sedans appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options