BEIJING, Feb. 23 (ChinaMil) – The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) will propose that Hong Kong citizens should have the rights to serve in the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) voluntarily during the upcoming National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) known as the "two sessions", which will be held in Beijing in early March, 2018.
Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported on Feb. 22 that the DAB, the largest political party in the city, will present 31 proposals and motions during the upcoming "two sessions.
It is reported that DAB will propose to let Hong Kong citizens enjoy more national opportunities, including the ability to apply for civil service posts in the Mainland and join the Chinese PLA.
The first step would be for Hong Kong students admitted to universities in the Mainland to be allowed to enroll in the army and enjoy subsidies and tuition fee waivers. If they retain their enrollment, they can go back to school again after retirement from the army.
Wang Guangya, former director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, said in June 2011 in a dialogue with HK youth that he believed that it should be possible for young people in HK to join the PLA or become Chinese diplomats.
At that time, the New People's Party initiated a signature campaign to urge Hong Kong people to support Chinese Hong Kong residents' eligibility to voluntarily join the PLA.
As most of the participants of the two-month-long “Occupy Central” campaign in 2014 were teenagers, quite a few scholars proposed allowing Hong Kong youth to participate in nation-building affairs, including acting as civil servants and compulsory service personnel, to cultivate their national consciousness.
In the "two sessions" in 2015, the DAB suggested that Hong Kong and Macao residents should have the rights to serve in the army voluntarily.
This proposal reflects the voices of some young people who are interested in military service. It is neither about compelling the HK residents to serve in the army nor an effort by the DAB to require youth to undertake military service, said Tam Yiu-chung, then the chairman of the DAB.
“The youth are not obliged to serve in the army at present. But if some young people in HK are willing to undertake military service for their motherland, why not offer them the option?” he said.
As the current conscription law of China is not a national law applicable to HK, there is no legal ground for HK residents to join the army. However, the basic law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region includes some national laws effective in HK in the appendix, such as laws about the national flag, emblem and anthem.
"Although the current conscription law of China does not apply to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, some Hong Kong residents have demonstrated their strong willingness to join the PLA to contribute to national defense. We appreciate the willingness of Hong Kong citizens to join the PLA," said Yang Yujun, the then spokesperson of the Ministry National Defense of China, in the Defense Ministry's regular press conference on Jan. 29, 2015.