Students from a Hong Kong-based university visited the CNMI Legislature on Monday as part of a two-day field trip to Saipan.
About 20 students visited the House of Representatives chamber and met with a handful of legislators.
“The purpose of our trip is to understand the culture, the history, and the current issues on Saipan,” said Allan Au, a professional consultant for the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “This is a study trip is organized by our…college and sponsored by TanHoldings.”
TanHoldings Corp. is one of the leading companies in the Commonwealth and operates businesses in Guam, the CNMI, and other parts of Micronesia and Palau.
Last Monday, the visiting students were able to ask lawmakers about current issues and hot topics such as the CNMI’s struggles with labor, drugs, and more.
“In Hong Kong, we are a part of China but at the same time we are not China. We encounter many problems and many controversies, but at the same time we also benefit from our relationship with China. Somehow, Hong Kong is similar to Saipan,” Au said.
Hong Kong is a former British colony that was handed back to China in 1997 after an agreement between Britain and China in 1984 allowed China to govern Hong Kong, but under the principle of “one country, two systems.”
The principle allows Hong Kong a high level of autonomy, but China takes care of its foreign and defense affairs.
Au believes that Hong Kong and Saipan are similar in terms of having a relationship with what are considered global superpowers: China and the United States.
“The Chinese government can decide who comes to Hong Kong and the number of people coming into Hong Kong, so this is the source of issue in recent years,” said Au, comparing Hong Kong to Saipan. “The political status brings us together.”