Official Media Reports on Xi’s Visit to Hong Kong Fail to Mention Handover Leaders

CommentaryChinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping recently wrapped up his trip to Hong Kong marking the 25th anniversary of Britain handing the city over to China. Notably, both Xi and the official media avoided mentioning two key figures in the CCP takeover of Hong Kong, a rare occurrence in the past 25 years. Until last year, the mouthpiece media made a statement on each previous handover anniversary mentioning former CCP leader Jiang Zemin and Hong Kong’s first chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, who have long been called “historical participants” in the transfer of the autonomous region that occurred on July 1, 1997. For the 20th handover anniversary in 2017, state media CCTV aired a personal interview with Tung, saying he had “contributed to the development of Hong Kong.” But this time, Tung was not able to attend the July 1 ceremony and inauguration of the new chief executive, while other former governors of Hong Kong, including recently departed Carrie Lam, were present for both. Tung served as the first and second chief executive of Hong Kong from July 1997 to March 2005. He was known to be a member of Jiang Zemin’s faction. Jiang is seen as Xi’s political rival. During Xi’s trip to Hong Kong, official media did not mention Jiang, nor was he mentioned in Xi’s remarks on his June 30 arrival or his speech at the handover anniversary ceremony the next day. Subsequent related reports said that July 1, 1997, was “a date worth remembering when it successfully achieved Hong Kong’s return and sovereignty,” and attributed it to “one country two systems,” a political pledge proposed by former leader Deng Xiaoping in the early 1980s. However, given the deteriorating freedom of speech and political environment in Hong Kong, observers raised thoughts that “one country two systems” was likely a ruse by the CCP to gain international trust before it could take Hong Kong back from the British. China’s President Xi Jinping (C) arrives with Hong Kong’s incoming Chief Executive John Lee (L) for Lee’s swearing in ceremony and to inaugurate the city’s new government in Hong Kong on July 1, 2022, the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to China. (Selim Chtayti/Pool/AFP via Getty Images) Before and after 1997, during Jiang’s rule, the CCP effectively implemented a covert special agent policy for Hong Kong that continued into Xi’s era. Established in 2003 and headed by the Standing Committee of the Politburo, the Central Working Group on Hong Kong and Macau was the highest body to manage Hong Kong affairs, whose first chief, Zeng Qinghong, and the current chief, Han Zheng, were vital figures of the Jiang faction as they were already embedded in all corners of Hong Kong. Zeng manipulated Hong Kong affairs through a network of special agent systems to fight against the Xi administration. Xi, therefore, finds himself incapable of taking grip of Hong Kong due to Jiang’s domination of the CCP special agent system in this area, a report in the Chinese language Epoch Times reported on Nov. 11, 2021. This situation angered Xi. In April 2020, Xi dismissed Sun Lijun, a vice-minister in charge of Hong Kong affairs at the Ministry of Public Security, a former front man who was loyal to Jiang’s faction. This action is likely related to Chen Ping, chairman of Sunshine TV Group, accusing  Xi of being responsible for his domestic and foreign affairs woes in an open letter on WeChat in March 2020. The letter called on the Central Committee to have a discussion about Xi and consider his departure, Radio Free Asia reported. Fearing Hong Kong’s security problems, Xi didn’t stay overnight during his two-day trip. And Xi left Hong Kong with a newly appointed chief executive, John Lee Ka-chiu, who is seen as hardcore pro-Beijing as he has been proactively pushing for the National Security Law. Hong Kong, one of the world’s essential financial centers and a major channel for China to connect with the West, has been used as a haven for the CCP squandering dictatorial powers, transferring corrupt assets, and accumulating fortunes. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Follow Justin Zhang has been analyzing and writing articles on China issues since 2012. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Official Media Reports on Xi’s Visit to Hong Kong Fail to Mention Handover Leaders

Commentary

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping recently wrapped up his trip to Hong Kong marking the 25th anniversary of Britain handing the city over to China. Notably, both Xi and the official media avoided mentioning two key figures in the CCP takeover of Hong Kong, a rare occurrence in the past 25 years.

Until last year, the mouthpiece media made a statement on each previous handover anniversary mentioning former CCP leader Jiang Zemin and Hong Kong’s first chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, who have long been called “historical participants” in the transfer of the autonomous region that occurred on July 1, 1997.

For the 20th handover anniversary in 2017, state media CCTV aired a personal interview with Tung, saying he had “contributed to the development of Hong Kong.”

But this time, Tung was not able to attend the July 1 ceremony and inauguration of the new chief executive, while other former governors of Hong Kong, including recently departed Carrie Lam, were present for both.

Tung served as the first and second chief executive of Hong Kong from July 1997 to March 2005. He was known to be a member of Jiang Zemin’s faction. Jiang is seen as Xi’s political rival.

During Xi’s trip to Hong Kong, official media did not mention Jiang, nor was he mentioned in Xi’s remarks on his June 30 arrival or his speech at the handover anniversary ceremony the next day.

Subsequent related reports said that July 1, 1997, was “a date worth remembering when it successfully achieved Hong Kong’s return and sovereignty,” and attributed it to “one country two systems,” a political pledge proposed by former leader Deng Xiaoping in the early 1980s.

However, given the deteriorating freedom of speech and political environment in Hong Kong, observers raised thoughts that “one country two systems” was likely a ruse by the CCP to gain international trust before it could take Hong Kong back from the British.

Epoch Times Photo
China’s President Xi Jinping (C) arrives with Hong Kong’s incoming Chief Executive John Lee (L) for Lee’s swearing in ceremony and to inaugurate the city’s new government in Hong Kong on July 1, 2022, the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to China. (Selim Chtayti/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Before and after 1997, during Jiang’s rule, the CCP effectively implemented a covert special agent policy for Hong Kong that continued into Xi’s era.

Established in 2003 and headed by the Standing Committee of the Politburo, the Central Working Group on Hong Kong and Macau was the highest body to manage Hong Kong affairs, whose first chief, Zeng Qinghong, and the current chief, Han Zheng, were vital figures of the Jiang faction as they were already embedded in all corners of Hong Kong.

Zeng manipulated Hong Kong affairs through a network of special agent systems to fight against the Xi administration.

Xi, therefore, finds himself incapable of taking grip of Hong Kong due to Jiang’s domination of the CCP special agent system in this area, a report in the Chinese language Epoch Times reported on Nov. 11, 2021.

This situation angered Xi.

In April 2020, Xi dismissed Sun Lijun, a vice-minister in charge of Hong Kong affairs at the Ministry of Public Security, a former front man who was loyal to Jiang’s faction.

This action is likely related to Chen Ping, chairman of Sunshine TV Group, accusing  Xi of being responsible for his domestic and foreign affairs woes in an open letter on WeChat in March 2020. The letter called on the Central Committee to have a discussion about Xi and consider his departure, Radio Free Asia reported.

Fearing Hong Kong’s security problems, Xi didn’t stay overnight during his two-day trip. And Xi left Hong Kong with a newly appointed chief executive, John Lee Ka-chiu, who is seen as hardcore pro-Beijing as he has been proactively pushing for the National Security Law.

Hong Kong, one of the world’s essential financial centers and a major channel for China to connect with the West, has been used as a haven for the CCP squandering dictatorial powers, transferring corrupt assets, and accumulating fortunes.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Justin Zhang has been analyzing and writing articles on China issues since 2012. He can be contacted at [email protected]