Hong Kong: Five youths from Hong Kong will join the United Nations next month as the first batch of junior professional officers (JPO) under recommendations by China, Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) announced Monday in a ceremony.
This is the first time that mainland Chinese authorities have worked with Hong Kong officials to allow the city’s civil servants to join the UN under the JPO program, set up in 1963.
The group, selected from a range of agencies, will be seconded to work at the UN’s New York headquarters and offices in Geneva and Vienna for two years.
At the ceremony, Xie Feng, commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong said the JPO program was a small step for the five youths but a giant leap for the city’s young generation to participate in national foreign affairs and global governance.
Xie further pointed out that the radical protesters were only in a minority and did not represent the younger generation of the city.
The months-long unrest in Hong Kong was sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions in mainland China. Protesters have insisted on five demands, including a judge-led independent inquiry into police conduct over the handling of protests, and amnesty to those arrested. But the government has stood firm.
“From the five junior professional officers and young people here, I see excellent qualities and morals valued by most young people in Hong Kong,” Xie was quoted as saying.
News of the selection on Monday came after President Xi Jinping said in Macau last week that patriotism in the casino hub was the most important reason for the success of the “one country, two systems” principle. Xi was there to mark the 20th anniversary of Macau’s handover to Chinese administration.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city government attaches great importance to youth development and is committed to facilitating young people to widen their horizons outside Hong Kong.
Lam said under the “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong enjoys the unique advantages of being backed by the motherland (China) while being open to the world.