Hong Kong youngsters should “read thousands of books”, travel more and try to deepen their understanding of history and national affairs, President Xi Jinping said in response to a Lunar New Year greeting from members of a police youth group.
Wang Zhimin, head of Beijing’s liaison office in the city, on Thursday presented Xi’s reply to the Hong Kong Junior Police Call (JPC), whose training camp the president visited during a tour of the city last year.
In the message, Xi reciprocated the good wishes and extended new year greetings to “wider youth” in the city.
“I hope you will read thousands of books, travel thousands of miles and learn more history, learn more about the national conditions, broaden your horizons, increase your knowledge, hone your skills, become an early leader, and take practical actions to serve Hong Kong and serve the country,” Xi’s letter read.
Some of the president’s first interactions with ordinary Hongkongers on his visit to the city in June last year came during a tour of the JPC’s new training camp in Pat Heung, near the Chinese army’s Shek Kong Barracks, which he also visited.
Back then, Xi gave his young audience similar advice, urging cadets to “eat well and grow up fast” and to “choose the right path to serve society, contribute to Hong Kong and contribute to the motherland”.
He added that the “future of the motherland and Hong Kong rest on the next generation”.
Xi’s message comes amid increasing concern in Hong Kong, particularly among disaffected youngsters, about what they perceive as creeping social and political influence by the mainland in the city’s affairs and freedoms.
Established by then chief police information officer Andrew Rennie in 1974, the Junior Police Call has more than 180,000 members. Its stated aim is to give discipline, physical and team-building training to young people, to enhance their crime prevention awareness, social responsibility and leadership.