A clear chain of command and good personal rapport among the team are key to any efficient management and governance - it is that simple.
The latest earthquake in Beijing's supervisory mechanism for Hong Kong affairs is shocking, yet telling enough - the reshuffle comes amid a national crisis in combating the coronavirus outbreak, a public health emergency that President Xi Jinping now wants addressed as part of national security interests.
Xia Baolong, the equivalent of a state leader as vice-chairman of China's top political advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, was appointed as head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) under the State Council on Thursday.
Xia's predecessor Zhang Xiaoming, who has spent his whole career handling Hong Kong and Macau, became the number two.
This was unavoidably seen as a demotion for Zhang, but his two counterparts with the same ministerial rank, Luo Huining and Fu Ziying - Beijing's top envoys to Hong Kong and Macau, respectively - were also made Xia's deputies under the new line up. It means the Beijing-based HKMAO is now empowered to lead the two frontline liaison offices, clearing long-time confusion as to who is in charge.
While the hierarchy within Beijing's own system is clearer, things are completely different if the central government wants to hold the local Hong Kong administration more accountable.
Hong Kong has in recent years developed into quite a headache for China's top leadership, especially now with an unpopular government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.
After the Occupy movement of 2014 against Beijing's stringent restrictions on the city's electoral arrangements, last year's anti-government protests triggered by the now shelved extradition bill are still going on, although on a smaller scale amid the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
Lam's much-criticised handling of the new health emergency has not gone unnoticed by Beijing. The fight against the disease officially known as Covid-19 has been dubbed a "people's war" and is now at the top of Xi's agenda.
It is also a political battle for Lam for sure, when she is not only under fire from the public, but also faces criticism from the mainland side for failing to ensure adequate prevention and protection supplies, especially masks. She earlier turned to Beijing for help.
And herein lies a long-standing structural issue in Hong Kong-mainland relations.
According to mainland political protocol, the chief executives of Hong Kong and Macau are ranked half a grade higher than their provincial counterparts and all ministers. Such a design allows the two special administrative regions' leaders more leeway in seeking cooperation from other local authorities on the mainland, with the HKMAO used to playing a coordinating role.
Without smooth personal interaction, however, this could lead to a somewhat awkward relationship between the two chief executives and the ministerial-level liaison offices and the HKMAO.
Lam has apparently tried to do some manoeuvring in this regard. When the liaison office in recent years was accused of meddling in the city's affairs and manipulating the pro-establishment camp's strategies in local elections, she openly vowed not to enlist the help of the office in canvassing support for herself from the camp. Her relations with Zhang, when he was heading the HKMAO, were known to be businesslike.
Now, with a trusted protege of President Xi leading an elevated HKMAO, the chemistry between the resolute and more senior Xia and Lam is a test for her in maintaining Beijing's faith.
But it is also a test for Beijing in its future implementation of "one country, two systems", the special governing formula that promises the city a high degree of autonomy. After all, handling Hong Kong, including the embattled Lam and her administration, is not the same as governing any mainland province.
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