The Beijing Office was established in March 1999 in accordance with Article
22 of the Basic Law. Its main role is to further enhance liaison and communication
between the HKSAR Government and the CPG and other Mainland authorities.
Through its liaison work, the Beijing Office provides
an accurate and up-to-date picture of the HKSAR to the CPG, other Mainland
authorities, non-governmental bodies and Mainland residents. It keeps
the relevant bureaux and departments of the HKSAR Government informed
about the latest developments in the Mainland. This enables the HKSAR
Government to have a better understanding of the policies and practices
in the Mainland and to evaluate their possible implications for Hong Kong.
Acting on instructions of the bureaux and departments of the HKSAR Government,
the Beijing Office takes necessary action with the Mainland authorities
on specific issues. The Beijing Office also provides logistical support
to visiting delegations of the HKSAR Government. The office handles enquiries,
and also requests for assistance concerning Hong Kong residents in the
Mainland. In 2003, the office handled a total of 609 trade, economic and
general enquiries and requests for assistance.
The Beijing Office regularly organises activities
to promote Hong Kong in the Mainland with a view to enhancing the Mainland's
understanding of Hong Kong's systems and latest developments, strengthening
trade and economic links, and facilitating exchanges between Hong Kong
and the Mainland. In 2003, the Beijing Office organised two large-scale
promotional events in Fujian and Zhejiang, to project Hong Kong's image
and assist its business and professional sectors in exploring opportunities
in the Mainland market.
During the outbreak of SARS, the Beijing Office collected
and disseminated, to Hong Kong and to relevant contacts in the Mainland,
useful information affecting Hong Kong residents living or doing business
in the Mainland, and assisted in the post-SARS economic relaunching of
Hong Kong in the Mainland. Major efforts included promotional campaigns
in Beijing, Fujian and Zhejiang, as well as nation-wide publicity drives
through the mass media.
With the support of the China National Radio, the
Beijing Office continued to broadcast a weekly radio programme to keep
the residents in the southern part of the Mainland abreast of the latest
situation in Hong Kong. The programme, in Cantonese, is estimated to have
reached an audience of at least 1.5 million in that area.
In addition, the Beijing Office handles immigration
matters. It processes applications for entry to Hong Kong and conducts
negotiations on visa-free access with foreign diplomatic missions in Beijing.
The office also provides practical assistance to Hong Kong residents in
distress in the Mainland, and on request handles cases involving the detention
of Hong Kong residents in the Mainland. During the year, the office handled
219 such cases.