The property squeeze has fueled anger at Hong Kong’s leader-elect Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) — whose inauguration Hu will also attend on Sunday — who was forced to apologize over revelations of illegal improvements to his home.
Leung’s main rival in the election race, Henry Tang (唐英年), was engulfed in scandal during the campaign when he admitted to having built an elaborate entertainment den below his luxury home without construction permits.
Leung was chosen to replace outgoing chief Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) by a pro-Beijing committee in March, promising to improve governance and uphold the rule of law.
However, the selection of the 57-year-old millionaire property consultant has already attracted protests drawing thousands of people decrying Beijing interference in the political process.
China’s economic heft can be felt in everything from demand for school places, maternity beds and baby formula to the choking smog that often hangs over Hong Kong’s spectacular Victoria Harbor.
Tensions flared in January when a Beijing professor, angered at an online video showing Hong Kongers berating a Chinese girl for eating on a train, called the city’s residents “running dogs of the British colonialists.”
A Hong Kong group responded by taking out a full-page ad in a local newspaper branding Chinese as “locusts.”
A poll released last week by the University of Hong Kong showed mistrust among Hong Kongers toward Beijing at a new post-handover high of 37 percent.
“Hong Kong is going to be a part of China — it’s a part of China, but that integration is going to take 50 years,” said former Hong Kong lawmaker Christine Loh (陸恭蕙), head of the Civic Exchange think tank.
“So where are we? It remains an evolving picture,” Loh said.