[Epoch Times, September 27, 2022]Just as more than one billion people in mainland China were complaining about the harsh lockdown policies and endless nucleic acid testing, at 3:30 pm on September 23, Hong Kong Chief Executive Li Jiachao suddenly Announced that from 6:00 Hong Kong time on September 26, Hong Kong will adopt a new entry policy. He emphasized that this is a decision made after balancing various factors as the number of confirmed cases gradually stabilizes. Specifically include the following:
1. You do not need to stay in a quarantine hotel on the day you enter Hong Kong from a foreign country or Taiwan, but only need to undergo 3 days of medical observation. After arriving in Hong Kong, if you test negative at the airport, you can go out, but you will be issued a “yellow code”, that is, you will not be allowed to enter restaurants, bars and other premises. If the nucleic acid test result is negative on the third day of arrival in Hong Kong, the blue code will be changed and the yellow code restriction will be lifted.
2. The requirement to submit nucleic acid test before boarding is canceled, and it will be replaced by a negative result of rapid antigen test within 24 hours before boarding. Nucleic acid testing is still required after entry, but it is no longer necessary to “test and wait” at the airport, but “test and release” after being sampled, and can freely choose the means of transportation to leave the airport.
3. Hong Kong residents who have not completed the vaccination are allowed to return to Hong Kong; however, they must complete the vaccination after arriving in Hong Kong to obtain the “vaccine pass” required for daily travel.
4. The “Easy Return to Hong Kong” mechanism for Hong Kong residents to return to Hong Kong from mainland China without quarantine and the “Easy to Hong Kong” mechanism for non-Hong Kong residents to enter Hong Kong without inspection will also become unlimited from the 26th, and the scope of application will be expanded. To all provinces and municipalities in the mainland and the Macao SAR.
Prior to this, the “political first” Hong Kong authorities had been following the “dynamic clearing” policy at the highest level of the CCP. In April this year, the CCP’s People’s Daily commented that for Hong Kong, insisting on “dynamic clearing” is a necessary condition for Hong Kong to clear customs with the mainland, and Hong Kong’s epidemic prevention and control work is also an integral part of the national epidemic prevention and control overall situation. It is decided that Hong Kong’s fight against the epidemic is not a matter of “one city, one place”.
In order to be politically correct, in the past few months, the Hong Kong authorities have adopted many control measures similar to those in the mainland. “Stand-off order”, which encircled many residential buildings for a week and required residents to take daily nucleic acid tests, etc., attracted the same resentment from the Hong Kong people, and many rich and middle-class people fled Hong Kong one after another. Hong Kong’s economy, which was due to the withdrawal of foreign capital and personnel due to the CCP’s suppression of the pro-democracy movement, is even more depressed and unbearable.
Even under such circumstances, the Hong Kong authorities, knowing that “dynamic clearing” would not work, still persisted and followed Beijing’s footsteps. Bloomberg has reported that Li Jiachao said it will be released in November. However, without waiting until November, Hong Kong took internationally acceptable practices by removing entry quarantine and relaxing nucleic acid testing and vaccination requirements.
And it is worth noting that this node is before the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which will be held soon. This is very intriguing. Is it related to the recent “rumours” about the situation in Zhongnanhai? Did it receive an order from Beijing? Whose order is it?
On September 23, when Li Jiachao announced the new epidemic prevention policy, a meeting was held in Beijing. According to Xinhua News Agency, the official media of the Communist Party of China, Han Zheng, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Vice Premier of the State Council, and head of the Central Leading Group for Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, hosted a video conference in Beijing on the afternoon of the same day to listen to the Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region, Ho Iat Seng, on the current economic situation in Macao and related issues. Report on the work situation, study and support the work of Macao to accelerate infrastructure construction and promote moderate economic diversification.
The meeting came after a bizarre phenomenon in Chinese Communist Party media coverage of Xi. According to reports, Han Zheng pointed out that “the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has always been concerned about the development of Macau”, “The Central Committee fully affirms the work of Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng and the SAR government, and fully supports Macau in preventing and controlling the epidemic, helping enterprises, improving people’s livelihood and promoting the economy. Moderately diversified development.” Han Zheng promised that the central government will give full support in infrastructure construction, important livelihood projects, and moderately diversified economic development.
It can be seen from this meeting that Beijing hopes that Macao will continue to develop its economy and will give strong support. For Macau, the same policy should be applied to Hong Kong, once a financial center, although there is no official report. To develop the economy, first of all, we must keep pace with the international community, relax the strict epidemic prevention policy, and allow the movement of people. This is probably the signal that Han Zheng hopes to send to Hong Kong and Macao. Therefore, Li Jiachao should have received an order from Beijing, and the order was not issued by Xi Jinping.
The predecessor of the Central Leading Group for Hong Kong and Macao Work was the Central Hong Kong and Macao Work Coordination Group. It will be renamed in 2020, and an office will be set up. Xia Baolong, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, will serve as the director of the new Hong Kong and Macao Work Leading Group Office.
But the strange thing is that Han Zheng has not been seen presiding over a special meeting of the Central Leading Group for Hong Kong and Macao Work before, and it may be that the author has not found it. One possible main reason is that Xi Jinping has been in control of Hong Kong and Macao affairs, and he has instructed the Chief Executive that the Central The Hong Kong and Macao Work Leading Group is more like a microphone. Now, under the rumors, Han Zheng held this meeting to convey the information of economic development to Hong Kong and Macao. Does it also indirectly support the speculation that something is really happening in Beijing?
In addition, not long ago, Li Keqiang once again stated that “one size fits all”, Shanghai also announced on September 22 that it would no longer completely ban roadside stalls and no longer unify outdoor shop signs. On September 24, the 2022 Autumn Summit of the Global Wealth Management Forum was held in Shanghai. Lou Jiwei, former Minister of Finance of the Communist Party of China, Miao Wei, former Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Ning Jizhe, Deputy Director of the Economic Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and Vice Chairman of the National Council of Social Security Funds Chen Wenhui, General Manager of China Investment Corporation Ju Weimin, and Chairman of Sun Yefang Economic Science Foundation Li Jiange discussed topics such as the path of global economic recovery, sustainable development and investment opportunities, and the development prospects of the asset management industry.
Lou Jiwei said that the more we face external uncertainty and the more external pressure there is, the more we must persist in implementing reform and opening up. Chen Wenhui suggested to “unswervingly promote market-oriented construction and opening to the outside world“. Li Jiange believes that “expanding opening up is a powerful driving force for realizing the goal of marketization, rule of law and internationalization of China‘s financial market, and it is also a key move to further enhance the ability of China‘s financial market to serve the real economy. Economic globalization will have ups and downs. But it will not be reversed. We must unswervingly promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in opening up.”
The above-mentioned signal of continuing reform and opening up is consistent with the signal sent by Li Keqiang to Shenzhen after the Beidaihe Conference. The driving force behind this should be the CCP veteran. Based on these signs, the Xi faction who continued to adhere to the zero policy and blocked Li Keqiang and Song Ping’s reform voices after the Beidaihe Conference was in trouble? As for whether the trouble is big or small, there will definitely be a signal released later.
Responsible editor: Pu Shan