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Belt and Road Summit 2019 Held in Hong Kong on September 11
2019年9月12日
Belt and Road Summit 2019 Held in Hong Kong
Belt and Road Summit 2019 Held in Hong Kong(Photo provided by:白井一成)

Amid persistent uncertainty, even after the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance were repealed, the Belt and Road Summit took place on September 11, 2019. With no concrete information available in Japan or China, Kazunari Shirai, one of the founders of GRICI, kindly provided me with fresh information from the site. Photos of what happened, available nowhere else.

Information gathered from a rare primary source

On the evening of September 10, I contacted an ex-high-level official (elder statesman) of the Chinese government asking for his view on whether the Road and Belt Hong Kong Summit 2019 will take place in Hong Kong on September 11.

This is to follow up my negative view expressed in my column <Will the Belt and Road Summit 2019 take place?” (tentative translation) on September 2 that it was unlikely take place at the moment. However, two days later on September 4, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor declared that the proposed amendments would be repealed.

In my view, the reason for the sudden announcement at the time was that Road and Belt Summit 2019 was scheduled to take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in a week. Had the amendments not been repealed, the Summit would have been forced to be held in Shenzhen, as I predicted in the column.

The demonstrations continued, in a slightly suppressed tone, even after the repeal was announced.

That’s why I wished to seek opinions from the elder statesman of the Chinese government as it was unclear whether the Summit would take place or not, only to hear that “he is unable to obtain reliable information.” I finally got his reply in the middle of the night, after repeatedly contacting him from late on the 10th until the 11th.

In the early morning the same day after a short nap, I searched the internet for information from mainland China, and found no convincing information.

However, as the author of the column dated September 2 based on my personal prediction, I felt duty bound tofollow up my previous column.

At the end of my resources, I felt tempted to consult Mr. Kazunari Shirai based in Hong Kong, the representative of the Sequedge Group  and one of the founders of GRICI.

To my surprise, Mr. Shirai sent his staff to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to obtain crude information at the site.

According to Mr. Shirai, his staff heard Mandarin from inside the hall, which suggested the Summit was in session. The staff took the following photos of the venue, and was surprised by the very low number of people around.

First, a signboard of the Summit at the outside of the entrance (Photo 1).

一帯一路香港サミット2019

Photo 1: Signboard at the outside of the Summit entrance

It says “BELT and ROAD SUMMIT”, so this is a venue of Belt and Road Summit.

It also says, “11 – 12/9/2019”.

Next, a slightly distant view of the entrance (Photo 2).

遠景から見た現場入り口

Photo 2: A slightly distant view of the entrance

There are barely any people present.

The staff walked a little forward, and saw the following sight (Photo 3).

サミット会場に向かう、まばらな人影

Photo 3: Very few people heading to the venue

People heading to the venue were very low in number.

Finally, just after the meeting was closed (Photo 4).

サミット終了後、外に出てきた参加者

Photo 4: Attendees coming out of the hall

There were people coming out of the hall, but not many.

The photos were taken at a common space, at a driveway in front of the hall, and at a place just inside the entrance.

As for security concerns, it seemed to be difficult to completely block the venue because it was connected to other commercial facilities, according to his staff. At the entrance inside the building, only authorized visitors were allowed to enter. In the presence of security guards, “the staff pretended to wait for a colleague and took photos secretly”, Mr. Shirai explained to me.

Such vivid photos would be unavailable anywhere in the world.

This is the reality of Belt and Road Hong Kong Summit 2019.

How did the Mainland Chinese Media Report the Event?

It was after the 1st day of the Summit ended “safely” without causing major protests to arise from Hong Kong citizens

that ShenZhen Media Group, a broadcasting company (through radio, movies and television) from mainland China, reported that the Belt and Road Summit 2019 was held in an article titled “A day in Hong Kong: Time cannot wait [September 11, 2019]” released at 0:50, September 12.

However, the article neither mentioned the number of attendees nor attached a single photo of the venue, mixing up unrelated information and placing a photo of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who managed to save face in a speech.

While the details of the Summit may not be available in the future, Mr. Shirai bravely took action to make the reality of this historic moment known to us.

I believe the repeal of the amendments of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance was declared on September 4 only to make Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor seem successful. I am afraid this foretells a darkness faced by Hong Kong in the future.

On September 11, the China United Front News Network introduced an article by the People’s Daily, the official media of Communist Party of China, titled <Hong Kong Strengthens the Bond to One Belt One Road Project> (tentative translation). However, the article reported the 1st meeting of the Council of Industrial and Commercial Professionals (tentative translation) held on September 10, which was established under collaboration between the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce the Hong Kong and China International Contractors Association, but did not mentioned the Belt and Road Hong Kong Summit 2019 held on September 11 at all.

This illustrates how the Beijing government is afraid of prior reporting and live broadcasting of Hong Kong because it is difficult for them to predict what may happen in Hong Kong. In a sense, the article is a confirmation of the thinking behind their action.

遠藤 誉
1941年中国生まれ。中国革命戦を経験し1953年に日本帰国。「中国問題グローバル研究所」所長。筑波大学名誉教授、理学博士。中国社会科学院社会学研究所客員研究員・教授、北京大学アジア・アフリカ研究所特約研究員、上海交通大学客員教授などを歴任。著書に『米中貿易戦争の裏側 東アジアの地殻変動を読み解く』(2019年11月9日出版予定、毎日新聞出版)、『「中国製造2025」の衝撃 習近平はいま何を目論んでいるのか』、『毛沢東 日本軍と共謀した男』(中文版・韓国語版もあり)、『チャイナ・セブン <紅い皇帝>習近平』、『卡子(チャーズ) 中国建国の残火』(中文版・英文版もあり)、『チャイナ・ジャッジ 毛沢東になれなかった男』、『チャイナ・ナイン 中国を動かす9人の男たち』、『ネット大国中国 言論をめぐる攻防』、『中国動漫新人類 日本のアニメと漫画が中国を動かす』『中国がシリコンバレーとつながるとき』など多数。 // Born in 1941 in China. After surviving the Chinese Revolutionary War, she moved to Japan in 1953. Director of Chinese Issue Global Research Institute, Professor Emeritus, Doctor of Science at the University of Tsukuba. Member of the Japan Writers Association. She successively fulfilled the posts of guest researcher and professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Her publications include “Inside US-China Trade War” (Will be published in 2019/11/9, by Mainichi Shimbun Publishing), “’Chugoku Seizo 2025’ no Shogeki, Shukinpei ha Ima Nani o Mokurondeirunoka (Impact of “Made in China 2025” What is Xi Jinping aiming at Now?), “Motakuto Nihongun to Kyoboshita Otoko (Mao Zedong: The Man Who Conspired with the Japanese Army),” “Chazu Chugoku Kenkoku no Zanka (Japanese Girl at the Siege of Changchun) (including Chinese and English versions),” “Net Taikoku Chugogu, Genron o Meguru Koubou (Net Superpower China: Battle over Speech),” “Chaina jajji — Motakuto ni narenakatta otoko (China Judge: The Man Who Couldn’t Become Mao Zedong),” “Chugoku Doman Shinjinrui: Nihon no Anime to Manga ga Chugoku o Ugokasu (The New Breed of Chinese “Dongman”: Japanese Cartoons and Comics Animate China),” “Chugogu ga Shirikonbare to Tsunagarutoki (When China Gets Connected with Silicon Valley),” and many other books.