Hong Kong DAB deputies to upcoming two sessions make proposals on enhancing patriotic education, facilitating cross-border travel

By Chen Qingqing (Global Times) 10:06, February 20, 2024

Ahead of the annual national two sessions - National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) - scheduled in early March, delegates of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) to the upcoming two sessions have put forward on Monday at least 30 proposals, including enhancing the patriotic education and pushing forward new measures in facilitating cross-border travel.

In the new era, it is more necessary for Hong Kong to leverage its strengths and promote a return to the hearts of the people. Therefore, the DAB has put forward recommendations on further promoting the implementation of the Patriotic Education Law in Hong Kong, Chan Yung, a Hong Kong deputy to the NPC, told the Global Times on Monday.

Chan also suggested increasing the frequency of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison's opening to public on major holidays such as the July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, August 1 - the anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army, and October 1, the National Day. Such move can allow local residents to visit the exhibition centers at the PLA Hong Kong Garrison's Ngong Shuen Chau Naval Base. The deputies also proposed providing internship programs for new recruits and junior civil servants, allowing them to serve as interns within the national civil service system. Also, there is hope for Southwest China's Sichuan Province to once again gift giant pandas to Hong Kong.

Starting from January 1, a number of new laws took effect in China with the Patriotic Education Law being one of the highlights. Society has high expectations for the law to boost patriotic education and further boost national cultural recognition.

While the law emphasizes that patriotic education should target all levels of the society, it especially focuses on conducting education among schools, families and civil servants, company employees, rural residents and patriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan region.

As people-to-people exchanges between the mainland and Hong Kong become increasingly frequent, the convenience of customs clearance becomes particularly important. Therefore, the DAB has proposed recommendations on facilitating cross-border clearance.

Another deputy, Wong Ping-fan, suggested increasing 24-hour clearance checkpoints and extending the clearance time of existing ports from the current 7 am to 10 pm to 6:30 am to 11:30 pm to facilitate the travel of residents between the mainland and Hong Kong.

In addition, in the reconstruction, upgrading, or establishment of new ports, the DBA proposed the implementation of "cooperative inspection and one-time clearance," and relevant central departments are studying the introduction of an electronic transit permit.

During the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays ended on Saturday, over 1.43 million visitors entered Hong Kong as of Saturday, reaching the level of the Spring Festival holidays in 2019, according to statistics from the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Visitors from the mainland accounted for about 87.7 percent of all inbound travelers.

The second to sixth days of the eight-day holidays were the peak periods for visitor arrivals, with between 190,000 and over 200,000 arrivals per day.

Some deputies from the DBA also suggested facilitating improved stock market connection by allowing both Hong Kong and mainland investors to subscribe newly issued stocks. Some suggested enhancing the city's status as a global financial center by positioning it as the primary choice for mainland enterprises seeking IPO outside the mainland. They also proposed expediting the listing process for A-share mainland companies in Hong Kong.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Zhong Wenxing)


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