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'Beijing must lead HK's electoral reforms'

2021-02-22 HKT 13:52
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  • The director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Xia Baolong, says there's a need to reform the SAR's electoral system to make sure the city is ruled by staunch patriots. File photo: Xinhua
    The director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Xia Baolong, says there's a need to reform the SAR's electoral system to make sure the city is ruled by staunch patriots. File photo: Xinhua
Vicky Wong reports
The head of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Xia Baolong, said on Monday that Hong Kong’s leadership – from the executive to the legislature and the judicial systems – must compose of “staunch patriots”, and that the election system must be reformed so that people who “oppose China and disrupt Hong Kong” cannot take up positions of authority.

According to an article published on the office’s homepage on Monday, Xia made the remarks at the opening of a closed-door “One Country, Two Systems” forum.

Xia said those who “oppose China and disrupt Hong Kong” were able to exert their influence in the city in the past, because the principle of letting patriots rule Hong Kong was not fully implemented.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the Beijing official said "those who hysterically attack the central government, openly advocate 'Hong Kong independence', bad-mouth or spread pessimism about China and Hong Kong in the international community or beg for foreign sanctions against China and Hong Kong are undoubtedly not patriots."

Xia said "different political views" are allowed in China, but "things that endanger the country's fundamental system – the socialist system led by the Communist Party of China – are absolutely not allowed".

He also said those who advocated "mutual destruction" in the 2019 anti-government protests are "destroyers of Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and are absolutely not patriots".

Xia said the most pressing issue now is to refine the election system and “plug the legal loopholes”, so that the system “not only respects the public’s democratic rights, but safeguards the nation’s sovereignty; not only ensures all elections are just, fair and open, but also effectively stops the agents of people who oppose China and disrupt Hong Kong and foreign anti-China forces from entering the SAR’s authorities”.

Xia said the reform must be spearheaded by the central government, adding it will definitely communicate with the SAR government and listen to the views of people from all walks of life in Hong Kong.

The mainland official insisted his remarks were nothing new, but that there’s a need to “play the old melody more loudly and more clearly” to “correct wrong impressions”.

Last month, President Xi Jinping had told Chief Executive Carrie Lam when she reported to him via video link that the central government’s “comprehensive jurisdiction over Hong Kong” could only be effectively implemented when the SAR is “ruled by patriots”.

Former chief executive CY Leung had earlier suggested during a media interview that it would be in line with the Basic Law if the SAR’s leader was selected through “local consultation” instead of an election.

Hong Kong's sole member on the National People's Congress Standing Committee, Tam Yiu-chung, also called for changes to the local electoral system, saying on Saturday that the 2019 district council elections – which saw the pro-democracy camp win by a landslide – were "highly abnormal".
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Last updated: 2021-02-22 HKT 15:58