The Central News Agency reported (June 3) that after the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Coordination Group for Hong Kong and Macau Affairs was recently elevated to the Central Leading Group for Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, the group leader Han Zheng met with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam in Beijing. According to Beijing’s mouthpiece, the Xinhua News Agency, Han Zheng said that the NPC Standing Committee will pass laws in the next step to “punish the very few people who commit serious crimes and activities that endanger national security.” It said other attendees at the meeting were Zhao Kezhi, deputy head of the Leading Group and Minister of Public Security, and Xia Baolong, Vice Chair of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and another deputy head of the Leading Group. This was the first appearance of the Central Leading Group for Hong Kong and Macau Affairs. In 2003, the CCP set up the Central Coordination Group for Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, the coordination mechanism for Hong Kong and Macao issues. Han Zheng, Vice Premier of the State Council, has been the head of the Coordination Group since 2018. Liu Zhaojia from the Beijing based China Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said that this organizational change, from Coordination Group to Leading Group, shows that Beijing is now exerting a higher authority to direct relevant ministries and agencies to deal with the Hong Kong issue. 
(Comment: In the CCP's organizational structure, “Commission” is the highest level, followed by “Leadership Group”, then by “Coordination Group.” The current problems in Hongkong and Beijing's perception of interference there by the US and West would have prompted setting up of the 'Central Leading Group'.)

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