A senior Communist Party official said on Monday that the central government is "all ears" when it comes to views on the planned changes to Hong Kong's electoral system, as long as people's opinions are based on Beijing's decision on the matter.
Mainland officials say they are now consulting people in Hong Kong on sweeping changes to the way Legco members are returned, several days after the National People's Congress approved the overhaul.
Some details of the drastic changes, including giving a committee the power to select legislators, have already been revealed, with more information to be announced by the NPC Standing Committee.
At a seminar at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, Zhang Xiaoming – the former head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and now a deputy there – said he wanted to gather opinions, but he would put people right if needs be.
“Some media reports wrote that Zhang Xiaoming is here to explain the decision, but this is not the main purpose. The main purpose is to bring our ears here to listen to people’s views and if necessary we will make clarifications,” he said.
Meanwhile, liaison office director Luo Huining invited people to “speak freely”.
“The central authorities will hold more than 60 seminars, as well as individual visits and meetings. Together, we will listen to the views of more than a thousand people. This shows that the central authorities are, as usual, genuine in listening to views,” he said.
The first session of the seminar was attended by top SAR officials, including Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung and Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng.
Both Zhang and Luo told the Hong Kong participants to keep their comments brief.