Local NPC deputies to get complaints office
KONG LAI-FAN in Beijing
Local deputies to the National People's Congress are to be given a venue at Beijing's Liaison Office for them to hear complaints from Hong Kong people.
The deputies were told by Beijing officials that space on the upper floor of the Liaison Office would be made available for members by the end of the year.
Apart from holding meetings, the delegates said they were told they would be able to meet members of the public seeking help or airing complaints.
One deputy, Allen Lee Peng-fei, said he had suggested a roster system for the local deputies to meet the public at the office.
Another deputy, Cheng Yiu-tong, said that there had been difficulties in the past in trying to arrange meetings with people who sought their help.
Liaison Office Director Jiang Enzhu sidestepped a question on whether the arrangement meant there would be a local deputies' office. 'We will study how to improve our services for them,' he said.
Referring to the work of local deputies, Mr Jiang said NPC Standing Committee Chairman Li Peng had already recognised their commitment.
In his report, Mr Li yesterday stated that local deputies in Hong Kong and Macau could not interfere in local affairs.
'At the same time, as Hong Kong and Macau residents they also participate in Hong Kong and Macau's social affairs and continue their important functions.' Lee Wui-ting, who is a former Xinhua assistant director, said local deputies could participate in local affairs pro-actively.
'It cannot be interpreted as intervention.' Mr Lee, citing the right of abode controversy last year, said that local deputies had shown commitment to the Basic Law in solving the question.
Mr Cheng said it would be inappropriate for them to express opinions when they performed as local deputies.
'The most important thing is to identify yourself clearly,' he said. As the chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, Mr Cheng said it was appropriate for him to comment on Hong Kong affairs.