The convenor of Legco's pro-democracy camp, Tanya Chan, says it is likely that Wang Zhimin was removed from his post as liaison office director on Saturday because of how the past six months of anti-government protests have been handled in the city.
"I do believe this is probably the price that Wang needs to pay for misjudging the extradition bill as well as the situation in Hong Kong, especially regarding the district council elections,” the Civic Party lawmaker said.
Wang is being replaced by former Shanxi Communist Party secretary Luo Huining, who has had a long political career on the mainland, but no experience of Hong Kong affairs.
Chan said she wasn't sure whether Luo's appointment would herald a new approach for Beijing's liaison office.
“Of course, it very much depends on the background of the new man. I am trying to understand his background. I've got the impression that he has a very strong [economics-related] background,” she said. “So, is it they will put more effort on the economy? I don't know. But at least we can see some Chinese officials paying the price regarding the extradition bill.”
Chan said that this reshuffle alone isn't enough, however, and local government officials should also be held accountable for the half year of social unrest, stemming from the administration's ill-fated attempts to push through a contentious extradition bill.
“I do believe that some officials, important officials from the Hong Kong government should at least think about whether they should step down or not,” she said. “To respond to the people's demands, or at least to seem to be accountable to the public.”