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New Liaison Office Head to Usher in New Period in HK: Expert

Pub Date:20-01-06 09:08 Source:Global Times

The State Council, China's cabinet, has appointed Luo Huining, former secretary of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, as the new head of the liaison office of the central government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). According to analysts, this signals the central government's determination to usher in a new period for the city gripped by continuous protests.

Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR government, extended a welcome to Luo Huining on the assumption of his new role.

Lam expressed confidence that under Luo's leadership, the liaison office will continue to work together with the Hong Kong SAR government to fully implement the Basic Law and "one country, two systems" in the interest of Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

Luo, 65, who was appointed vice-chairman of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress on December 28, has previously served as Party chief of Northwest China's Qinghai Province and North China's Shanxi Province, according to his resume, which is in the public domain.

Appointing an official with no Hong Kong-related experience to the liaison office shows the central government's determination to lead Hong Kong to a new chapter and restore peace in the city gripped by protests, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan studies at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times on Saturday.

"Luo's past experience shows that he is politically mature and has a tacit understanding with the central government," he said.

Luo served as the Party chief in Shanxi from 2016 to 2019. During his tenure in the region famous for its coal industry, he cracked down on large-scale corruption that was seriously affecting local governance. His anti-corruption crusade played an important role in helping the province enter a new era.

The leadership change at the office sparked heated online discussion on Chinese social media, as the public has been closely watching the Hong Kong situation for months.

"The appointment showed that the central government values his 'grassroots experience.' Given his experience in taking charge of local economic and financial affairs, he is expected to help stabilize Hong Kong's economy," Mei Xinyu, an expert close to the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Luo worked in a steel factory in East China's Anhui Province in the 1970s before he went to college, according to his resume. He also worked in the economic and trade commission of Anhui Province, accumulating experience in handling economic affairs. From 1999 to 2003, he was the head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Anhui Provincial Committee.

Luo is so far the only official with experience as a provincial Party chief to be appointed to lead the liaison office, according to media reports. It was also the first reshuffle for the post since anti-government protests started in June 2019 in Hong Kong.

"The situations in Qinghai and Shanxi were both complicated, and Luo served as a firefighter," Mei said, noting that the central government needs someone with abundant experience in governing local affairs who can also help restructure and reform business affairs in Hong Kong.


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