Keeping a finger on the pulse of local life

As part of the National Day outreach campaign organized and rolled out across the city by the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Director Luo Huining visited and chatted with some Hong Kong residents on Thursday for a purpose.

Theories or speculation were being generously offered about the purpose of the outreach campaign, such as, “The campaign is intended to bring the office closer to the people of Hong Kong.” But none is nearer the truth than the one interpreting it as evidence of Beijing’s intention to take a hands-on approach to tackling the deep-seated economic and livelihood problems that have been plaguing the special administrative region.

Indeed, sending ground teams to collect firsthand information from the people by listening to their concerns, grievances and aspirations, especially the disadvantaged groups of society or those living in hardship, has been a tradition of the Communist Party of China in its persistent efforts to better serve the people. This tradition has worked well over the past 72 years, as has been evidenced, for example, by the nation’s great success in poverty alleviation.

In contrast with Western politicians’ hand-shaking campaigns during election cycles, which are essentially aimed at the votes of those they shake hands with, the CPC’s ground teams focus on collecting as much information as possible, which will be of great help to the government’s future policy formulation.

In that context, the Liaison Office’s outreach campaign can also be seen as evidence of the central authorities’ intention to galvanize the HKSAR government governing team into action. This conceivably includes building a consensus among all stakeholders and taking practical measures to resolve without further delay those deep-seated problems such as the widening wealth gap between the rich and the poor, inadequate upward social mobility for young people, worsening poverty, the housing shortage, and the constraints of a narrow industrial base.

The central authorities’ determination to tackle Hong Kong’s major problems is beyond question after President Xi Jinping reiterated during a speech at the ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC on July 1 in Beijing that “Hong Kong’s and Macao’s long-term prosperity and stability must be protected.”

Hong Kong’s deep-seated problems are the major source of social discontent in the city, and had been exploited to the fullest by anti-China political zealots, including separatists, to undermine sociopolitical stability in the special administrative region, as evidenced by the social unrest in recent years, particularly the 2014 “Occupy Central” illegal campaign and the 2019 “black revolution” aimed at toppling the special administrative region government.

These problems must be tackled also because of the fact that they work against the goal of “common prosperity” that the central authorities are championing.