Deputies to NPC will facilitate SAR’s integration

In Hong Kong, people usually don’t pay too much attention to the election of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region members of the National People’s Congress, because the city has its own legislature and there is always an impression that these Hong Kong members of the NPC will only serve the national legislature. Therefore, the election of HKSAR deputies to the NPC was not as high-profile locally as it should have been.

The mentality of keeping an arm’s length away from the State turns out to be outdated as the SAR is increasingly integrated into the nation’s overall development blueprints. The city now more than ever needs policy contributions from national legislators, who play a critical role in facilitating the rapid development of the nation as a whole.

In the latest election of HKSAR deputies to the NPC, the election committee of the HKSAR elected 36 new deputies to the 14th NPC. Each deputy will serve a five-year term in the country’s top legislature starting in 2023. They pledged to serve the interests of Hong Kong residents in the NPC and will further facilitate our city’s greater contributions to our nation.

This is indeed the primary task for the HKSAR deputies to the NPC, where they will add a Hong Kong perspective to national development strategies and hopefully offer Hong Kong’s solutions to some of the country’s problems. 

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has become one of China’s top development strategies. The nation needs more feedback from Hong Kong on the exercise of “one country, two systems” as well as to adopt any views constructive to its policymaking process. And these Hong Kong deputies to the NPC will be the first to speak their minds concerning the nation’s policies and legislations.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China emphasized that the country will push forward development to reach nationwide modernization. “Hong Kong experiences” can be valuable references for the mainland’s future development. The experiences are even more precious as they come from different social sectors with different perspectives, which may broaden the central government’s policymaking vision. 

Moreover, there was a notable change in this year’s election. Altogether 12 out of the 36 elected are incumbent Hong Kong Legislative Council members. Five years ago, the number was only three. This is indeed a promising sign for the city’s playing a better role in the State. 

The general public in the SAR must have noticed that there has been a gap between national and local policies. Sometimes the city may even seem at odds with the national development strategy in one way or another. For example, I believe many NPC members will remember the aborted planning of the Sandy Ridge Super Cemetery City, about 500 meters away from Shenzhen city center. Though the area was seen by strategists as a potential new engine of economic growth boosting an integrated development between the two cities, the planning obviously neglected the need to take the national strategy into consideration. Fortunately, after rounds of criticism from the public, local legislators pressured the SAR government to abandon the plan. 

However, such problems would be better solved if more Hong Kong legislators had also been NPC deputies, as they would have had a more comprehensive understanding of the social developments and various situations on both sides. They will also enact laws and help form policies in the best interests of both sides. By then, the development momentum of the HKSAR and the Chinese mainland will be more compatible.

Moreover, this year’s election saw only 15 reelected deputies. The 21 newcomers, mostly younger than their predecessors and from different sectors, will not only inject new blood into the NPC but will also make the NPC more diversified. This is also in line with the nation’s youth development policies. Fresh minds will bring new ideas. The new HKSAR deputies to the NPC are expected to offer innovative inputs to the nation’s future development.

The author is a member of the Guangdong Province Zhongshan City Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, executive vice-chairman of the Hong Kong CPPCC Youth Association, and vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Y Elites Association.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.