Activist delivers petition to NPC

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 December, 2007, 12:00am

A member of the League of Social Democrats petitioned the nation's top legislature over universal suffrage in Hong Kong with unexpected ease yesterday, suggesting mainland authorities are taking a more lenient view of dissenters in the city.

Lo Chau, who was allowed across the border on Thursday but was later detained at Beijing airport for three hours, presented a letter yesterday morning to the National People's Congress Standing Committee complaints office calling for universal suffrage in Hong Kong in 2012.

'When I entered the complaints office around 11am, the security guards were not very friendly to me, but their attitude became much better after some plain-clothes officers arrived,' he said after a 20-minute visit to the office.

'They said the office was originally scheduled to close at 11am but that since I had come from Hong Kong, they specially asked the official in charge to come and receive my letter,' he said.

In the letter, addressed to NPC chairman Wu Bangguo , the league urges the Standing Committee to respect Hong Kong people's aspiration for universal suffrage in 2012 when it deliberates Hong Kong's constitutional reform.

The fact that the petition process had been unexpectedly smooth could be a sign that the new state leaders responsible for Hong Kong affairs had a more open attitude towards Hongkongers expressing their views, Mr Lo said.

He said that with the submission of the letter, his mission had been only partly completed. He lamented that the league's original petition letter, banner and some 2,000 signatures gathered from the public had been seized when a group of protesters tried to cross over to Shenzhen.

Mr Lo was the only one of four protesters allowed into the mainland. Legislator 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung and district councillors Andrew To Kwan-hang and Tsang Kin-sing, who lack the home-return permits necessary to cross the border, were turned back.