When Zhang Dejiang came to Hong Kong last month, 5,000 policemen were on standby because there were “potential risks of riots”. Also, work at a construction site in Wan Chai was stopped during his three-day visit to the city. This is ridiculous!
Looking back, we can still remember Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and former governor Chris Patten walking along the streets and tasting local food like ordinary travellers.
On the contrary, Zhang behaved like an emperor.
When officials visit places “in their own country”, they should only have a few bodyguards to create an image of being close to the people. When they are surrounded by lots of bodyguards, they put up unnecessary barriers, and the residents feel uncomfortable. I think they do this because they want to instil fear in the public. Zhang needs to improve his image.
He was a top official in Guangdong province during the Sars epidemic in 2003. He is accused of withholding information about the outbreak that spread to Hong Kong, killing 299 people.
He is supposed to help improve relations between Hong Kong and the mainland, but his speeches do not inspire confidence.
If Zhang really wants to achieve his goal, he should meet locals and talk to them.
During his visit, perhaps Zhang wanted to show his influence and power to Hongkongers. He was wrong. He should learn from his mistakes.
Anderson Ngai Chi-lok, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College
From the editor
Thanks for your letter, Anderson. Many people were critical of the measures taken by the police to protect Zhang. It was very inconvenient for people trying to go about their daily activities. And we agree his bodyguards looked very scary, but that is their job.
Many people felt that the arrangements made to protect Zhang went too far. It’s always hard to know whether or not the police had reason to be so intense.
They get a lot more information than we do, and they are trained to assess the risks of such assignments. It is very easy for us to say it was too much, but we don’t really know. If something had happened to Zhang it would have been awful. That’s not to say it might even have come from a Hongkonger; other people might have wanted to attack him and found Hong Kong’s security to be weak.
Many people like yourself were also disappointed that he did not take the time to talk to people in anything other than a staged environment. It was a chance to make friends with Hong Kong and he missed it badly.