5 things to know about Zhang Dejiang

5 things to know about Zhang Dejiang

Top Chinese official Zhang is in Hong Kong at the moment. Here’s what you need to know

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Zhang Dejiang (centre) gave a speech from the tarmac - but it didn't stop the protests.
Photo: SCMP Pictures

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Planned protests against Zhang's visit led to 6,000 police being deployed to look after him.
Photo: EPA

1 Who is Zhang Dejiang?

Zhang, 69, ranks third on the very powerful Standing Committee of the Communist Partys Politburo, just below President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

He runs the National People's Congress, Chinas law-making body, and is known as an iron-fisted enforcer.

2 Whats his link to Hong Kong?

Zhang leads the party’s group on Hong Kong and Macau affairs. He was in charge of Beijings decision on Hong Kongs political reform in 2014. That was the year Beijing said Hongkongers would only be allowed to vote for one of three candidates, all of whom had to be pre-approved. The notice led to the Occupy Central protests.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has been all smiles since Zhang arrived.
Photo: AFP

3 How did he get to where he is?

Zhang was born in Liaoning, 69 years ago. He was among the youth who were sent down during the Cultural Revolution. Then, he studied economics in North Korea. Before he was so high up in the central government, Zhang was Guangdong provinces party secretary for six years. 

4 Why is he in Hong Kong?

He's here to talk about the One Belt, One Road idea. Its the catchy thing that everyone is talking about, and it involves Chinas trade and development plans that reach across Asia and Eastern Europe. Hell do a few other things too while hes here, like official dinners and selfie ops at a housing estate.


Zhang Dejiang passes on President Xi Jinping’s well wishes for Hongkongers


5 Why is his visit such a big deal?

The last time a party bigwig was here was when President Hu Jintao visited in 2012.

Also, in four months time, Hong Kong will hold its Legsilative Council elections, which will be a year before the chief executive selection next March. The September elections are expected to be the most competitive in Hong Kongs history.

Will Leung Chun-ying get to keep his job? Everyone is watching closely for any hints of what Beijing might be thinking.

Additional information from Agence France-Presse

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