A leader of Beijing's top think tank on Hong Kong said on Friday that Beijing is behind the banning of a dozen pro-democracy hopefuls from running in the upcoming Legco polls to prevent the hostile forces from taking over the council.
Lau Siu-kai, the vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said that the central government is taking matters into its own hands as the Sino-US relationship takes a turn for the worse.
"This simply reflects the serious international situation between the United States and China, and the fact it’s the Hong Kong opposition proceeding in a very practical manner, and the fact that there’s collusion between external [and] internal hostile voices."
"So that prompts Beijing into doing something to prevent the hostile forces from taking over Legco and to make sure that the national security is safeguarded," Lau said.
He said anticipated that there would be a number of Legco hopefuls would be barred from running, and that Beijing was taking a "cautious and precautionary approach" in determining people who should run for local elections.
Lau acknowledged that a lot of people would be unhappy with the disqualification of pro-democracy candidates, but said he didn't think there would be large-scale protests over it.
"A lot of the people understand that whatever they do, that will not change Beijing’s determination to protect national security. At the same time, given the serious economic situation in Hong Kong and the uncontrollable pandemic, it is quite difficult for large-scale protest movements to get organised."
He told RTHK's Priscilla Ng that it was most likely that the West will impose more sanctions on Beijing and Hong Kong, but that both governments have taken this into account and "will not retreat from safeguarding national security and national sovereignty".