A senior Beijing advisor said on Wednesday that it’s no surprise that opposition politicians aren’t being invited to forums on the mainland to give their views on a national security law for Hong Kong, while some pan-democrats pointed to their exclusion as proof that central authorities aren’t interested in listening to any dissenting views.
Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said because the opposition fundamentally disagrees with Beijing’s decision to impose security laws on the SAR via Annex III of the Basic Law, mainland officials consider it impossible to accept their opinions, and their involvement would just delay the entire process.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam had earlier on Wednesday announced that Hong Kong delegates to top mainland bodies like the National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), along with some professionals, would be invited to forums in Beijing and Shenzhen to air their views on the coming legislation.
She said Legco President Andrew Leung would also be asked to give his views, but made no mention of legislators.
Lau said he believes Beijing would make minor adjustments to the legislation if people air their concerns.
However, he said a request from the Hong Kong Bar Association for the authorities to launch a full public consultation would be impossible, saying this would necessitate the entire draft legislation to first be released to the public.
This, he said, would slow things and and prevent the authorities from using the law to quickly stamp out the ‘rioting and chaos’ in Hong Kong.
Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien, also a member of the NPC, suggested that all 1,200 members of the Chief Executive Election Committee – which includes opposition figures – should be invited to the mainland forums, pointing out that CPPCC and NPC members already have existing channels to communicate with the central authorities.
At the same time, he urged his pro-democracy rivals to give up their wholesale opposition to the legislation.
The security law will be implemented in any case, he said, and the opposition should focus on details of the legislation – such as how it will be enforced, and what role mainland agencies will play.
But if they’re concerned that critics will accuse them of being complicit in the legislative process just by participating, he said, there’s nothing he can do.
But Council Front lawmaker Claudia Mo dismissed any discussions as meaningless.
Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung agreed, saying he wasn’t disappointed at being excluded because he had no expectations to begin with.
“But then again, does it make sense for a law that so fundamentally impacts Hong Kong, [to have] consulted nobody except [Beijing’s] puppets… those who agree with them in the first place?” he questioned.
“If Beijing is genuine in hearing what people in Hong Kong want to say, not only legislators but the general public should be consulted in the first place”, he insisted.
Including pan-dems in talks 'a waste of time'
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