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Published: 00:44, October 06, 2021 | Updated: 09:29, October 06, 2021
'Outreach campaign' must instill people-centric philosophy
By Tu Haiming
Published:00:44, October 06, 2021 Updated:09:29, October 06, 2021 By Tu Haiming

Luo Huining, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, visited grassroots communities on National Day on Friday, and chatted with fishermen, youths working on their startups, residents, shop owners and subdivided residential-unit occupants to convey the goodwill of the central authorities to them and hear what they have to say, with the purpose of helping Hong Kong tackle its deep-seated problems. 

It was not the first time Luo and his colleagues have met with Hong Kong residents face-to-face since he took office as head of the Liaison Office, indicating such meetings will be a new normal in communications between the central government and members of the public in the HKSAR. 

The key to resolving all the deep-seated problems plaguing Hong Kong is to maintain people-centric development thinking. Luo’s latest conversations with residents marked the beginning of a long-lasting campaign to regularly reach out to local grassroots communities and exchange views with people face-to-face. During the campaign, Liaison Office deputy directors Chen Dong, Lu Xinning, Tan Tieniu, Luo Yonggang, He Jing, and Yin Zonghua, and Secretary General Wang Songmiao have also led teams of Liaison Office officials to meet residents where they live or work to learn more about their lives and their opinions on Hong Kong affairs. Luo Huining said during his visit to local grassroot communities on National Day, “These kind of activities will be a new normal from now on”.

The key to resolving all the deep-seated problems plaguing Hong Kong is to maintain people-centric development thinking. Luo (Huining)’s latest conversations with residents marked the beginning of a long-lasting campaign to regularly reach out to local grassroots communities and exchange views with people face-to-face

This new normal fully demonstrates the great importance the Liaison Office attaches to the opinions of not only representatives of sectors across the social spectrum but also of ordinary people from various grassroots communities, by listening to them directly, because the central authorities believe more direct communication with people from all walks of life in Hong Kong will better facilitate the decision-making process based on people-centric thinking.

President Xi Jinping has said more than once over the years, “Hong Kong’s development has always been in my heart and mind.” After his visit to the city in early July 2017, the central government introduced a series of favorable policies and measures to boost Hong Kong’s development as well as the livelihood of residents with tangible results. These not only showed his care and concern for Hong Kong’s economic development and people’s well-being but also made sure effective measures were taken by the HKSAR government as well as the central authorities to address various issues, particularly deep-seated problems facing Hong Kong society. His concern has been reflected in actions taken by central government officials such as Vice-Premier Han Zheng, who oversees the handling of Hong Kong and Macao affairs, and Xia Baolong, a vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office. In addition to words of concern and care, the central authorities, from President Xi down to central government officials such as Han and Xia, have instructed relevant departments of the central government to formulate policies and measures tailor-made for Hong Kong in response to popular opinions conveyed through direct conversations.

For example, the central government recently introduced 21 policy measures to help Hong Kong residents tide over the challenges posed by the economic slowdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Luo Huining explained on Friday: “The ultimate goal of those measures is to let ordinary people live a better life, because Hong Kong can develop better only when its residents are happy about their life.” 

The Communist Party of China, which has been the governing party of the country since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 72 years ago, is totally and forever committed to governance for and serving the people through thick and thin. This unshakable conviction has guided the CPC in leading the Chinese people to achieve the greatest transformation of an entire nation of 1.4 billion that the world has ever seen. Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. It is a matter of course for the central authorities to always keep the well-being of Hong Kong residents in mind and take the necessary measures whenever Hong Kong society needs help, especially when faced with grave challenges posed by anti-China forces at the behest of the US-led hostile Western powers in recent years. There is no better example of such timely help than the National Security Law for Hong Kong, which was enacted in June last year, and the decision to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system through local legislation earlier this year. Those two institutional instruments have created a favorable social condition in Hong Kong, paving the way for even more favorable policies and measures designed to benefit Hong Kong residents in the years to come.

After talking to residents during his visit to grassroots communities on National Day, Luo Huining observed that resolving deep-seated problems such as a persistent shortage of affordable housing requires concerted efforts to fix a host of problems, including land supply for residential housing development, urban planning, and resources input. In addressing these issues, however, decision-makers must keep in mind the fundamental principle of people-centric development thinking.

The administrators of the HKSAR must know precisely “whom socioeconomic development is for” at all times. They must never assume “social elites” should come before the ordinary working masses as the main beneficiaries of their administration. Nor should they focus on fancy political slogans while neglecting the reality that living a decent life is a basic human right. It is their responsibility to solve the biggest problems in the way of the underprivileged people to a better life, not find any excuses to avoid those tough challenges.

The author is a Hong Kong member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of the Hong Kong New Era Development Thinktank.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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