'Keep quiet' call to local NPC deputies
NO KWAI-YAN in Beijing
Senior National People's Congress officials yesterday said local deputies should not comment on SAR affairs when in recess in Hong Kong.
The comment drew mixed reaction from deputies, with Allen Lee Peng-fei saying it was meaningless for him to seek re-election if he could not talk about SAR issues.
Vice-chairman of the Legal Affairs Commission Qiao Xiaoyang said local deputies had no relationship to Hong Kong's political structure.
'Due to the 'one country, two systems' policy, the NPC deputy system is not applicable to Hong Kong. Local deputies therefore have nothing to do with the SAR's political framework,' he said.
Mr Qiao said local deputies should not interfere with the work of the SAR Government nor meddle in Hong Kong's autonomous affairs.
NPC spokesman Zhou Chengkui was more specific, saying deputies were free to express their views during the annual plenum but it would be inappropriate for them to comment on Hong Kong affairs at other times.
Mr Lee said on Tuesday he had done nothing in his year as a deputy and suggested deputies should play a greater role in SAR affairs.
He said yesterday he would not stand for the post again if he could not discuss Hong Kong issues.
'What is the point of me running again? What is it for if we fly to Beijing for 10 days and only say something once a year? 'As a Hong Kong person, I can speak out about Tung Chee-hwa's work. Nobody can stop me, not even the NPC Standing Committee,' he said, adding he would fight till the end of his term of office in 2002.
He denied he was trying to influence the decision-making of the SAR Government.
'If they only applaud when somebody says something in favour of the Government, but brand those against the Government as bad guys, it is not acceptable,' he said.
He said he would write to deputy convenor Ng Hong-mun to clarify deputies' role and duties.
Mr Ng said the deputies had the right to discuss China affairs including Hong Kong matters at any time.
However, another deputy, Maria Tam Wai-chu, said the deputies should stay away from SAR affairs.
'If they want to talk about Hong Kong matters, they should run for the Legislative Council election,' she said.