Stay out of mainland affairs, officials told

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2007, 12:00am

Public officers should avoid commenting on mainland affairs under the 'one country, two systems' principle, according to a local deputy to the National People's Congress.

Maria Tam Wai-chu made the remarks after Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen had come under fire for likening democracy 'in full swing' to the Cultural Revolution.

Speaking in a RTHK programme yesterday, Ms Tam said officials whose portfolios do not involve mainland affairs should avoid commenting on mainland issues.

She said she would also avoid talking about the mainland's political and social affairs when she was in Hong Kong.

'I am not talking about Mr Tsang. But generally speaking, public officers whose portfolio is not related to mainland affairs should consider if it is necessary to comment,' she said. On the recent controversy over veteran democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming's newspaper article on the Olympic Games in Beijing, Ms Tam said Mr Lee's remarks were actually rather 'restrained'.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago, Mr Lee urged the US government to make use of the opportunity to press for human rights improvement in China. But pro-Beijing politicians accused him of inviting foreign intervention and branded him a traitor.

Ms Tam said a good Olympic Games in Beijing would help the country's liberalisation and improve its international relations and image.

Speaking in another RTHK programme, Letter to Hong Kong, The Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing warned against 'Cultural Revolution-style attacks' against Mr Lee over the Olympics article.