Most English-language coverage of the recent major meetings in China simply reported that the country’s leader started a third term,. But there were many important developments at the annual meetings of the NPC and the CPPCC which show that power is being transferred to the people. Hong Kong’s Dr Herman Hu Shao-ming, who participated in the events, reports.
THE STRONG SUPPORT FOR President Xi Jinping’s third term was encouraging and signifies the people’s confidence and acceptance of the direction the country is taking. What’s happening is important: power is being transferred to the people in what we can refer to as “Chinese-style democracy”.
For example, the developments regarding law enforcement, and the changes regarding the rules that govern the creation of legislation, clearly show the increasing presence of a democratic process that further enhances direct public participation in the legal system.
EMPOWERING THE PEOPLE
It’s a mistake to think that Western liberal democracy is the only possible form of democracy. Clearly there are different ways in which the will of a country’s people can empower the nation’s governance.
“Other nations can learn from our systems of governance to their benefit.”
The best way to achieve results for the people is to implement democratic processes that are fine-tuned to the time and the place and to specific situations that need to be dealt with for the benefit of the populace. Indeed, China’s extraordinary successful rate of development is widely recognized, and other nations can learn from our systems of governance to their benefit.
Below I offer observations and recommendations on five areas of development.
1. LEGISLATION LAW
Important amendments were made to China’s Legislation Law at the NPC meeting this month. The changes ensured that the expectations of the underprivileged can be heard and their needs met.
The Legislation Law, which deals with the process by which laws are created, first appeared in the books in 2000 during the 9th NPC meeting. I was honored to have participated in the 2015 amending of the Legislative Law.
It was recognized this year that the time was right for further development. The new amendments add flexibility to fine-tune the process for local conditions. Local authorities can map out regional laws based on the actual up-to-date situations in their regions, while related mechanisms and rights are made clear to the public.
These amendments were made after seeing how creation of legislation worked in practice. As a result, the Legislation Law has been refined to keep abreast of the times and reinforce the recognition that people are masters of the country.
For many years, the government has been focused on eradicating extreme poverty in the country. Now, after people’s basic needs have been met, China is working to refine its systems to achieve people-centric governance and enable the public to participate in national affairs to attain people-centered democracy. The people are thus made into the true masters of our country.
2. LAW ENFORCEMENT
We in Hong Kong can learn a great deal from studying the recently released work reports of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. China’s legal system has been growing by leaps and bounds, and the nation now has a world-leading “digital court” process where processes which take years in other countries can be handled quickly and efficiently online.
The country’s criminal justice system clearly works. China has become one of the world’s safest countries. The people are clearly happy about this, and NPC deputies also expressed their delight at this significant achievement.
What is most impressive this time is that the Supreme People’s Procuratorate has embraced the wisdom of Chinese medicine. Two of the key precepts of Chinese Medicine are to ensure good energy flow through the body, and to take a preventative stance instead of just a reactive one—and these principles are seen in legal development too.
China does not simply automatically adopt practices of western countries but instead moves in an agile and flexible manner to create systems that work for us. I recommend that such practices in legal and judicial work should be promoted on the global stage, so a Chinese-style path can become clearly visible and contribute to world’s development.
Hong Kong deputies to the NPC can start by promoting a Chinese-style judicial system to the public from all walks of life, particularly the younger generation, when they return to their city from Beijing. It’s clear that the country’s legal and judicial systems have served the best interests of Chinese people, and it would be good if Hong Kong people can be helped to see this.
In particular, it is hoped that China’s “intelligent court”, a legal system using a broad application of technology, will be introduced in Hong Kong soon, so that people can handle court cases online in the near future.
Furthermore, integrity in transactions was a key focus in the work report of the Supreme People’s Court. This year, I submitted a proposal on the fostering of the spirit of integrity, which is in line with national policies, and is encouraging to see this.
3. SCIENCE BOOST FOR CHINESE MEDICINE
To enhance the development of Chinese Medicine, I recommend we organize more international academic seminars and forums on the topic.
Hong Kong’s status as a global gateway connecting Mainland China with the world can be leveraged to bring together Chinese Medicine academic heavyweights from around the world, with government officials and management experts exploring future development and play to the strengths of the sector.
[Watch the video below to learn more about developments in Chinese medicine, or scroll down to continue reading.]
Academics can be encouraged to initiate scientific research and publish their studies in international journals, and also strive to establish an intellectual property framework for the development of Chinese medicine.
Chinese medicine can be introduced to local and international media from different perspectives. For example, we can consider its long history and its contribution to human civilization and health over millennia.
4. HEALTH AND SPORTS GO TOGETHER
Among the cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, I believe that Hong Kong is obviously the “world city” with high international connectivity. There is also the distinct advantage Hong Kong has under the “One Country, Two Systems” policy.
So I suggest that Hong Kong and other cities in the Greater Bay Area can jointly organize international mega events, forums and conferences, and foster the development of the sports industry.
As such, it will help Mainland provinces and cities connect to the world and lure more overseas enterprises’ investments and talents.
[For a TV interview with sports supremo Kenneth Fok, see below. To continue reading, scroll down.]
5) SPEED UP HONG KONG-SHENZHEN ZONE
“Innovation” and “High Quality Development” are two common terms heard throughout the Two Sessions. We need to accelerate the creation of a science-themed co-operation zone between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. This will be key to the development of the Greater Bay Area.
Both cities can speed up the planning and design work towards establishing a Hong Kong-Shenzhen co-operation zone focusing on international science and education.
The cities can adopt a model of co-building the zone. Universities and tertiary institutions, as well as scientific research institutes and key industries, can jointly foster an operation to accelerate the development of commercial applications for technological innovations.
The project can mobilize support in the community and use state-owned capital to participate in a wide variety of investment and other projects, thereby forming a collaboration chain involving industry, academia and research institutes.
Hong Kong has a competitive edge to woo talent. We need to use this to draw top universities and scientific research institutes to set up their bases here, building a pool of innovation and science talents from around the world.
The city already has a good management model for this type of operation. But the project will need the building of good connections between numerous parties, policy coordination, scientific planning and construction of the zone, the fast-tracking of administrative procedures, and necessary policy support as well as help given to top universities and tertiary institutions to encourage them to establish innovation platforms in the zone.
WE HAVE MUCH TO ACHIEVE
I believe the five observations above show that our country is moving forwards on its own path. Developing a nation is never easy, but our record is good and our potential for working together to achieve our goals of building a community with a shared future for mankind is strong.
When the Greek writer Aesop wrote the immortal words “United we stand, divided we fall” in 600 BC, Athens had a population of less than 200,000.
When 1.4 billion people stand in unity, just think what we can achieve.
Dr Herman Hu Shao-ming is a Hong Kong Deputy to the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China.
Click this line to read Dr Hu’s report about sports being a growth point for China.
Click this line to read Dr Hu’s response to the Standing Committee’s annual “work report”, and its focus on Hong Kong.
Image at the top by Magda Ehlers.