Tuesday, July 09, 2013

CEPA Failing to win Hearts and Minds in Hong Kong.

My man Charles Tsai rolls past an old and long disused coastal defense blockhouse on our 100 mile ride today.

Hong Kong had ECFA before there was ECFA, called CEPA. SCMP reports that it's failing to win hearts and minds in Hong Kong. Any of this sound familiar? Beijing is treating Taiwan exactly the same as Hong Kong:
The cross-border free-trade pact offers Hong Kong companies preferential access to mainland markets. There are zero tariffs on goods imported from Hong Kong, although the city's small manufacturing base limits the effectiveness of that measure. Nine supplementary deals signed since 2004 have further liberalised trade in goods and services. [just like ECFA! Pact + supplementary deals]

The Hong Kong government has hailed the economic impact of the deal. [just like the Ma government] Earnings for Hong Kong companies from mainland-related business facilitated by Cepa reached HK$61.6 billion between 2004 and 2009, according to government figures. The individual traveller scheme, which allows mainlanders from key cities to visit Hong Kong without joining tour groups, is credited with boosting the retail, catering and property sectors, although the influx of visitors has proved controversial. [just like Taiwan]


However, the political benefits of Cepa appear to have gradually faded. In a similar survey last month by the public opinion programme, just 25 per cent said they trusted the central government - the lowest since February 1999 - while the proportion of respondents who distrusted Beijing was at its highest since February 1997.

Beijing has also failed to make much headway in fostering Hongkongers' emotional attachment towards the mainland. The HKU tracking poll asks Hongkongers to rate how strongly they identify as Chinese, on a scale of one to 10.

Last month's poll saw the rating fall to 6.8 points - 0.67 point lower than in the previous poll in December and just a whisker above the record low of June 1999. By comparison, the ranking for Hong Kong identity stood at 8.13 points.

The survey also found that 38 per cent of the 1,055 respondents identified themselves distinctly as Hongkongers, an increase of 11 percentage points from December. Some 23 per cent identified themselves as Chinese. [yawp, just like Taiwan only not as far along in the process]
The article quotes an advisor to the CCP government on Hong Kong affairs as saying that its as if some in Hong Kong feel the city-state is too dependent on China. Another expert observes that economic issues can't win hearts and minds because political issues are the real problem. Anyone recognize any parallels with Taiwan?

ECFA was signed on the anniversary of the CEPA signing and was originally called CECA....

I have heard Chinese complain about how the Tibetans are well treated but still resist. I wonder sometimes whether the function of things like ECFA and CECA isn't to address hearts-n-minds in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but to address hearts-n-minds in the Motherland, saying "See how well we've treated them? And still they reject us!" -- to prepare the population for the anguish of maiming and murdering their brothers across the Strait in order to bring them into the fold. "See? They deserved it for rejecting us."

Speaking of ECFA, New Zealand and Taiwan are inking an economic cooperation pact, one of those FTAs that ECFA was supposed to get us in droves. The signing takes place July 10. Hopefully Singapore will follow soon.
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Anonymous said...

It could also be to prepare the population for the inevitable backtracking on "time immemorial". If you wanted a positive spin on it.

Excellent blog btw.

Anonymous said...

China does not really need to win "hearts and minds" in Hong Kong.