The convenor of pro-democracy camp, Tanya Chan, struck a cautious note on changes at the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office on Thursday, saying Hong Kong people should wait and see how things pan out, but she hopes Beijing will soon get to hear what the people in the city want.
She was commenting after the head of the HKMAO, Zhang Xiaoming, was demoted and Xia Baolong, vice chairman of the CPPCC, was named as his replacement.
"[Xia] as well as our new liaison office head Luo Huining don't have much experience in Hong Kong and Macau affairs. We need to wait and see what happens when they are in charge of Hong Kong affairs," said Chan.
"But the structure now seems like the central government is directly overseeing Hong Kong and Macau affairs, and no longer relies on the Beijing liaison office here to relay some messages or opinions"
"Does that mean that public opinion can directly reach Beijing in future? Does that mean Beijing's future policies can be more in line with public opinion? This is still a mystery," said the opposition lawmaker.
But she said Xia's background as a hardliner and his role in a crackdown on mainland churches create unease.
"His attitude is a little bit strong, especially when treating very sensitive issues, for example like rehabilitation and religious issues," said Chan.