Beijing White Paper 2014

Democrats cancel meeting with liaison office in protest at white paper

Party cancels meeting and says Hongkongers want Beijing to retract controversial document

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 3:14pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 June, 2014, 4:14am

The Democratic Party has cancelled a meeting with the central government's liaison office director Zhang Xiaoming in protest at Beijing's white paper on "one country, two systems" released on Tuesday.

The Democrats and the Labour Party indicated they would urge Beijing to retract the paper, as Hongkongers feared it would undermine the city's autonomy.

"[We] are very angry and disturbed by the 'white paper', which has sent a clear signal … that Beijing wants to backtrack on the high degree of autonomy promised to Hong Kong," Democrats chairman Emily Lau Wai-hing said. "We decided to suspend the meeting … as Hongkongers would like us to urge Beijing to retract the paper."

Democrat lawmakers were to meet Zhang (pictured) next month.

Separately, Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan said that unless Beijing retracted the white paper, it would be hard to hold talks on political reform.

"They must retract statements such as its 'comprehensive jurisdiction' over Hong Kong," he said, referring to one of the paper's most controversial remarks, which stressed that Hong Kong's autonomy was subject to Beijing's authority.

The two parties also urged Hongkongers to take part in Occupy Central's poll next week on models for the 2017 chief executive election, as well as the July 1 pro-democracy rally.

Pan-democrat heavyweight Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun joined the appeal. Zen today starts a seven-day march to call on Hongkongers to vote in Occupy's poll. He said the white paper only encouraged Hongkongers to vote because "[we] will hit back if repressed". The poll asks people to pick from a shortlist of three models. Zen said people should vote even if they did not support any of the options.