Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Hong Kong Loses Face

Beijing has decided the APEC meeting will not be held in Hong Kong
There is another ominous sign that Hong Kong is being ruled by Beijing.

This afternoon there was an unexpected announcement that Beijing would be the site of the APEC finance ministers' meetings and not Hong Kong, as originally planned. Also it will be postponed from September 10-12 to later in that month.

The reason? The Hong Kong government stated the change was made "due to the number of events and the broad range of themes and issues covered in the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation process".

"Some APEC meetings will have to be rescheduled to ensure that various APEC events would be well organized and coordinated. Accordingly. the location of the [meeting] will be changed to Beijing to facilitate logistics arrangements."

Huh?

If anything Hong Kong could logistically hold such an internationally high-profile event and with it being a compact city, ministers and diplomats shifting from one meeting to another would have been no problem.

What "broad range of themes and issues" could be overwhelming to Hong Kong?

Hong Kong was probably forced into this awkward corner after the central government decided it would hijack the event and host it on the mainland instead.

Perhaps it is due to concerns of what happened in Bali last year when Hong Kong journalists were kicked out of the venue when they shouted questions at Philippine President Benigno Aquino regarding the Manilla shooting.

Also last November, lawmakers expressed concerns about the APEC event coinciding with the Occupy Central movement -- if it does happen.

So one can probably conclude Beijing wants no hint of trouble and so it has moved the entire event out of Hong Kong.

Seems extreme, but knowing China's paranoia it's now not surprising, but in reality, overboard.

What more can the Hong Kong government say except sheepishly respect the central government's decision?

A local government spokesman said the Hong Kong government would like to "thank the relevant CPG ministries, including the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, as well as the Legislative Council and relevant organizations, for their support and cooperation over the past months".

If that isn't a kowtow I don't know what is...


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