Lobbying remarks 'struck raw nerve'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 October, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 October, 1996, 12:00am

The backlash against Mr Patten's attack on people secretly lobbying Beijing against government decisions had been expected, a source said last night.

'He knows he will strike a raw nerve, but he also feels strongly because it's a threat to Hong Kong's autonomy.' Lobbying was damaging if government decisions were challenged solely because someone did not like them.

The source said 'everybody knows such cases occur from time to time and are reported in newspapers'.

He confirmed one case the Governor had in mind was the delay in the granting of six personal communications services licences.

China agreed to the government decision in July, nearly a year behind schedule.

Guidelines for bidders for the six licences were issued in November 1994 and 14 bids received by the following March.

Some newspapers revealed the identity of the six winners in July last year, although the reports were denied by the authorities.

Officials said the results would be announced in August last year.

But China said any major franchises would have to be approved by the Joint Liaison Group.

It said the number of licences was too many and could lead to unhealthy competition.

Sources said some of the parties had lobbied Beijing to change the government decision.

But Economic Services Branch officials were adamant the market could accommodate six operators.