Hualing Fu contributed to a ChinaFile Conversation on President Xi Jinping's recent visit to Hong Kong. The full article can be accessed here. In Hong Kong, a proper dose of cynicism is healthy and helpful in understanding Chinese politics, but excessive cynicism dampens Hong Kong’s spirit and impedes a constructive dialogue that is much needed for Hong Kong to move out of the current impasse. Did President Xi come to Hong Kong to deliver a harsh and intimidating message? Clearly not and there is no need for him to do so.
Did Xi wag his finger at Hong Kong? Yes he did. He scolded those who advocate Hong Kong’s independence, he reaffirmed China’s broadly defined bottom-lines in relation to the authority of Central Authorities, national security and sovereignty; and he gave warnings to those who may use Hong Kong as a basis for political and religious infiltration and who contemplate and envisage color revolution. This is the first time for a state leader to use the term of infiltration/sabotage to capture the perceived risk that Hong Kong may pose to China. It is a significant expansion of the doctrinal concern that Hong Kong serves as a potential subversive base from which to challenge the Chinese political governance system.
Having expressed these security concerns, Xi delivered three positive messages that are significant for Hong Kong. First, Xi reminded the people in Hong Kong of the city’s glorious past and of the fact that Hong Kong has made outstanding contributions to China. Xi could have gone one step further to make a stronger statement that China’s economic miracle would not have been possible without Hong Kong’s helping hands. Xi said China acknowledges and appreciates Hong Kong’s contributions. That thank-you note from Xi resonates well in Hong Kong. Personally, witnessing all the attacks and occasional insults from the Mainland in the past few years, I have been waiting for someone to acknowledge Hong Kong’s historical contributions. And Xi has now just done this... Click here to read the full article.