Lawmakers took turns on Monday to announce their support for plans to reform the SAR's electoral system, with one insisting it's only right that Hong Kong people will not get a say in the matter, and another proclaiming that whatever Beijing decides will be great.
In recent weeks various pro-Beijing figures have been calling for electoral reforms, and now the head of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Xia Baolong, has all but confirmed that such a move is on the cards.
Xia was quoted as saying during a closed-door forum that only patriots can rule the territory and Beijing must spearhead reforms to "plug the legal loopholes" and "stop the agents of people who oppose China and disrupt Hong Kong and foreign anti-China forces from entering the SAR’s authorities".
The president of the Legislative Council, Andrew Leung, said Xia's remarks show that being patriotic is the "most basic and reasonable" requirement for those in governance.
Leung said he believes the central government will listen to the views of the Hong Kong people when drawing up its electoral reforms.
"I am sure that all the Hong Kong people will have a say. In his speech, he also mentioned that he will listen to Hong Kong people's views, so I have no doubt about that ... As long as you are patriotic, you can have any views. The political spectrum can be as wide as possible," he said.
Martin Liao, the convenor of the pro-establishment camp – the only camp in Legco – said it makes sense that Hong Kong people will not be involved in drawing up the reforms being as changes to the Basic Law could be required.
"It must be a matter for the National People's Congress and the National People's Congress Standing Committee. Hong Kong has no say in any amendments to the Basic Law," he said.
Liao also said he believes there will be opposition in Legco in future.
"It's a pluralistic society and it will be a pluralistic assembly in Hong Kong. So I don't think you can say that all the pan-democrats will be barred. The question is whether they have been charged with a national security law offence for instance, and whether they have in the past been doing things that will make them not qualified to be considered as a patriot," he said.
The Business and Professionals Alliance, meanwhile, said Beijing is not aiming to suppress voices opposing the government, but those who damage the "One Country, Two Systems" arrangement.
Lawmaker Jeffrey Lam said he hopes the reforms will be announced soon, as they could help solve Hong Kong's deep-rooted conflicts.
"I think whatever proposed is for the betterment of Hong Kong's society, the Hong Kong government, for the whole system... So we look forward to that. We hope that would come as soon as possible," he said.