Pan-democrats get vow on visits
A Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Dr Lew Mon-hung, says he will submit a proposal to the conference in March to allow pan-democrats to return to the mainland.
'I pledge that, during the CPPCC and National People's Congress meetings in March of next year, I will submit a proposal about issuing home-return permits to the democrats,' Lew said during RTHK's programme City Forum yesterday.
He said Hongkongers should understand more about the Communist Party. But he was challenged by Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing, who said 11 out of 60 legislators were banned from visiting the mainland.
'Beijing doesn't even allow us to go to the mainland, so how can we understand more about it?'
Lau brought this point up as the discussion on the show turned to the recent controversy surrounding district councillor Jackson Wong Chun-ping, who declared himself an independent in last month's election and won a seat in Sau Mau Ping North constituency in Kwun Tong. He was later found to be a former official of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong.
Lau said Hongkongers were still afraid of the party. Claiming that the central government had already 'penetrated' many different organisations in Hong Kong, she worried Beijing was now getting involved in elections here and violating the principle of 'one country, two systems'.
Lew argued that according to the Basic Law, Wong, as a Hong Kong permanent resident, had the right to be elected. He said the law did not state that party members or former officials at the liaison office could not enjoy their election rights.
Veteran China-watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said that although Wong's running in the election did not contravene any law, it had gone against the spirit of the Basic Law.
'Wong has not violated the law but this trend is worrying,' Lau said. 'Is it just an individual case or has the central government arranged for a lot of people to come to Hong Kong?'
He said the incident gave an impression that the central government had been planning a lot of things in Hong Kong.
Wilson Wong Wai-ho, an associate professor of public administration at Chinese University, added that the central government's liaison office and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office should review their roles and methods of communicating with Hongkongers.