Former chief executive CY Leung said on Thursday that reforms to the SAR's election system are needed to stop “puppets of foreign governments” getting into power, as he also said people who love Hong Kong, its way of life and capitalist system, should thank the Chinese Communist Party.
Leung made the comments in an interview with RTHK, saying nowhere allows “non-patriots” who oppose their own country to be elected into positions of power, threatening the nation's sovereignty, safety and interests.
There is speculation that Beijing is planning to scrap the district councillor seats in the 1,200-strong election committee tasked with picking Hong Kong’s chief executive.
The central government is also said to be contemplating removing the five so-called district councillor “superseats” in the Legislative Council which were established in 2012.
When asked whether scrapping the superseats would be a backward step for Hong Kong’s democratic development, Leung told RTHK via a video link that the “superseats” only have a brief history, and a lot of places change their electoral systems “in accordance with the actual situation”.
Leung, who’s a vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said it makes perfect sense to demand that only “patriots” rule Hong Kong.
“If we continue with the current Legislative Council election and the chief executive election, it’s very likely to allow foreign governments’ puppets to become Hong Kong’s leaders,” he said.
“Some legislators have gone and asked foreign countries to sanction their own government. They looked so proud of themselves, the way they wagged their tails and took photos with leaders of the US government without blushing… You asked me why, I also wonder why there are such kinds of legislators in Hong Kong.”
He added that the concept of “patriotism” is common in western democratic countries as well, noting that the United Kingdom also requires opposition to be loyal to the country.
His remarks followed comments recently made by Xia Baolong, the head of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, who said there is a pressing need to reform the SAR’s electoral system to ensure only patriots are governing Hong Kong.
Leung, meanwhile, described discussions about whether people who love the country must also love the Chinese Communist Party as “a diversion” from the real issue.
He questioned why there’s a need to separate “loving the country” and “loving the party", saying the Communist Party has always ruled China, and Hong Kong is a part of China.
“Many friends in Hong Kong, including some from the opposition camp, say they love Hong Kong very much… How did the Hong Kong they love so much come into existence? It exists under the People’s Republic of China, which is being ruled by the Chinese Communist Party. The Hong Kong that we love so much, including our way of life and the capitalist system, was designed by the Chinese Communist Party.”