Reshuffle to better implement "one country, two systems" and uphold national security
Xia Baolong made his debut as director of the Hong Kong and Macao Work Office, under the Communist Party of China Central Committee, as he chaired a meeting of the newly launched work office on Tuesday.
Xia, 70, was appointed director of the State Council Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office in February 2020.Between 2018 and this year, he also served as a vice-chairman of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
The launch of the work office came after the CPC Central Committee and the State Council released a plan on reforming Party and State institutions in March, a move that would help improve national governance efficiency and tackle risks and challenges in order to promote high-quality development.
The plan said the CPC Central Committee would set up an office for Hong Kong and Macao affairs, based on the existing Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, in order to implement the principle of "one country, two systems" and uphold national security.
The move aims to fully implement the central leadership's full governance over the two special administrative regions and support the two SARs' efforts to integrate into the country's overall development plan, the plan said.
The new office will function as a working body of the CPC Central Committee. The name of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council will be retained, according to the plan.
The work office is also in charge of safeguarding national security and ensuring the well-being of people, as well as conducting relevant research and coordinating work, it said.
Five deputy directors of the work office and other officials also attended the meeting, including the new executive deputy director, Zhou Ji, who serves in a ministerial-level position. Zhou, 59, became the deputy head of the CPC Henan Provincial Committee in 2021.
Yang Wanming, another deputy director of the newly launched office, made an appearance in his capacity with the 2023 Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Cooperation Chief Executives Joint Conference held in Guiyang, Guizhou province, last week.
Yang, 59, previously served as the director-general of the Latin American affairs department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and ambassador to Chile, Argentina and Brazil. He assumed the position of deputy director of the State Council Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office in April 2022.
In an article he wrote in March for Ming Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper, Tian Feilong, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong &Macao Studies, said the new office signals a comprehensive integration of responsibilities related to Hong Kong and Macao efforts to adapt to the strategic and governance needs to maintain "one country, two systems" in the new era.
Hong Kong and Macao affairs pose great political challenges and require risk management, and the centralization and unified leadership will contribute to safeguarding national sovereignty, security, development interests, and the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao, he said.
In addition, managing the affairs requires Party leadership in the areas of countering external intervention, sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction that involve systems and policies of high complexity and sensitivity, he added.