Three Signals Passed by the High-level Officials’ Shuffle for the First Time since the “Reverse Sending” Demonstration in Hong Kong

Since the “anti-spending” protest broke out in Hong Kong last year, the government has moved the accountability officials for the first time. Nie Dequan, the head of the Bureau of Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, was transferred to replace Luo Zhiguang as the head of the Civil Service Bureau. The Director of the Immigration Department, Zeng Guowei, became the head of the first disciplinary force to head the department involved in developing Hong Kong’s political system and relations between China and Hong Kong.

In addition, the Secretary for Finance and the Treasury, Liu Yixiang, the Secretary for Science and Technology, Yang Weixiong, and the Secretary for Home Affairs, Liu Jianghua, will be replaced by Xu Zhengyu, Executive Director of the Financial Development Bureau, Xu Yingwei, Deputy Director of the Labor and Welfare Bureau, and Xue Yongheng, Director of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. Both Xu Zhengyu and Xu Yingwei are members of the establishment party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of the People, and Xue Yongheng belongs to the technical officials.

“Accountable officials” are a group of higher-level officials in the Hong Kong government, which are different from civil servants. Since 2002, Hong Kong has implemented the reform of the accountability system for principal officials. It has changed the ranks of all directors and directors from civil servants to contractual appointments and must be held responsible for their faults. A total of 5 positions were replaced this time, of which only Nie Dequan, the former Director of the Bureau of Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, was adjusted. None of these five persons’ terms of office have expired.
The State Council of China stated that the appointment was made “according to Hong Kong Chief Executive Lin Zheng Yue’s nomination and recommendation.” Chief Executive Lin Zheng Yuee of the Hong Kong Chief Executive said that he thanked the outgoing officials for their contributions and described the shift as “looking forward.” The primary consideration is to lead Hong Kong out of economic difficulties. She said that the new director joined the accountability team when it was challenging to meet the challenges, and she admired it.

According to a poll conducted by the Hong Kong People’s Research Institute in early April, the most popular among the secretaries were the Secretary for Justice Zheng Ruohua, the Secretary for Security Li Jiachao, the Secretary for Education Yang Runxiong, and the Secretary for Administration Zhang Jianzong. None of them were replaced. This reflects the fact that the consideration of personnel transfers this time is not based on widespread expectations. It is expected that the overall situation will not significantly impact the popularity of the Hong Kong Government.

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