US embassy cable - 06HONGKONG686

HONG KONG NEWSPAPERS REPORT A READJUSTMENT OF CHINA'S HONG KONG POLICY

Identifier: 06HONGKONG686
Wikileaks: View 06HONGKONG686 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Hong Kong
Created: 2006-02-17 10:44:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL HK CH PINR PHUM
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO0817
PP RUEHCN
DE RUEHHK #0686/01 0481044
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171044Z FEB 06
FM AMCONSUL HONG KONG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4981
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HONG KONG 000686 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EAP AND EAP/CM 
NSC FOR DENNIS WILDER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/2031 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, HK, CH, PINR, PHUM 
SUBJECT: HONG KONG NEWSPAPERS REPORT A READJUSTMENT OF 
CHINA'S HONG KONG POLICY 
 
 
Classified By: E/P Chief Simon Schuchat. Reasons: 1.4(b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and Comment: The "Oriental Daily" and its 
sister publication "The Sun" reported on February 17 that 
during a January 6 Politburo Standing Committee meeting, 
members reviewed and readjusted policy towards Hong Kong. 
Beijing concluded that the failure of the reform package last 
December had been a result of "intervention by foreign 
forces."  "The Sun" also alleged that Chinese leaders had 
begun to raise doubts about Chief Executive (CE) Donald 
Tsang's performance, but added that without viable 
 
SIPDIS 
alternative CE candidates, Beijing did not intend to replace 
Tsang.  Comment:  The reports, which seem intended to weaken 
 
SIPDIS 
Donald Tsang, may have its source among Hong Kong's old-style 
"patriotic" leftists, who were never enthusiastic about Tsang 
and are, we often hear, gravely dissatisfied and unhappy with 
his performance so far.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Politburo Reassesses Policy Towards Hong Kong 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) The "Oriental Daily" and its sister publication "The 
Sun" reported on February 17 that during a January 6 
Politburo Standing Committee meeting, members reviewed and 
readjusted policy towards Hong Kong.  (Note: Both papers have 
a reputation for publishing sensational articles, but are 
also known to have good mainland contacts.  End Note.) 
Standing Committee members concluded that the failure of the 
reform package last December had been primarily a result of 
"intervention by foreign forces."  According to sources 
interviewed by the "Oriental Daily," the Standing Committee's 
new strategy towards Hong Kong will be to "unite those 
(people) who ought to be united, to struggle against those 
(people) who ought to be struggled against, and to put aside 
those (issues) which ought to be put aside." 
 
3. (SBU) The "Oriental Daily" said that the opposition, 
including individuals such as former Democratic Party 
Chairman Martin Lee, had colluded with "foreign forces" and 
had sabotaged the principle of "One Country, Two Systems". 
As a result, reported the newspaper, the opposition was now 
(sic) perceived as the enemy.  However, Beijing would not 
view all democrats as the enemy and would continue to lobby 
more moderate democrats.  The article cited the Central 
Government Liaison Office's (CGLO) Lunar New Year reception 
invitation to Article 45 Concern Group members and some 
democrats as evidence that the central government would 
continue to reach out to select democrats. 
 
4. (C) "The Sun" alleged that Chinese leaders had begun to 
raise doubts about Chief Executive Donald Tsang's 
performance.  Despite Tsang's high poll ratings, leaders in 
Beijing noted that he had failed to implement political 
reforms, to launch any new economic measures, or to 
successfully promote the West Kowloon Cultural District. 
(Comment:  It seems unlikely that the CCP Standing Committee 
would care very much about the fate of the West Kowloon 
Cultural District, in which Beijing authorities do not have 
any stake.  End Comment.)  Despite these criticisms, the 
paper noted that Tsang still had job security; Beijing had 
not yet found any better CE candidates. 
 
Beijing Unlikely to Reverse Reconciliation Policy 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
5. (C) Political commentator and National People's Congress 
(NPC) delegate Allen Lee told poloff on February 17 that 
among pro-HKG figures, there was a growing chorus of 
dissatisfaction with CE Tsang's performance.  Yesterday, 
during a meeting of NPC delegates, Lee said that he was 
surprised at how openly pro-Government politicians such as 
Jasper Tsang, former Chairman of the Democratic Alliance for 
the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), had 
criticized Tsang.  "They (pro-Beijing figures) do not like 
Tsang," said Lee. 
 
SIPDIS 
 
6. (C) Chris Yeung, "South China Morning Post" 
Editor-at-Large, told us on February 17 that it was not 
surprising, if the articles were accurate, that Chinese 
leaders would reassess their policy towards Hong Kong.  In 
the aftermath of the HKG's failure to pass the reform 
package, Yeung said that it would be natural for the party to 
assess the success of its Hong Kong policy prior to the NPC 
and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference 
(CPPCC) meetings in early March.  He did not expect any sharp 
reversal of the reconciliation strategy pursued by Tsang and 
Beijing in the post-C.H. Tung era.  Instead, Yeung said that 
there would be more minor adjustments of strategy, including 
 
HONG KONG 00000686  002 OF 002 
 
 
closer monitoring of the Article 45 Concern Group. 
Cunningham 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04