Leung aims to 'avoid' Basic Law reading
Emily Tsang and Tanna Chong
Leung Chun-ying is 'not inclined' to seek an interpretation of the Basic Law to stem the influx of mainlanders giving birth in Hong Kong, according to a lawyer who attended talks with the chief executive-elect yesterday.
Barrister Alan Leong Kah-kit was one of several legal experts invited to Leung's office for a one-hour meeting on the issue. Former secretary for security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee also attended.
'Leung initiated this discussion and seemed inclined to solve the problem without seeking interpretation of the Basic Law,' Leong, who is also a Civic Party leader, said.
Leong said he suggested amending the law to tackle the issue of granting the right of abode to all children born in the city.
Mainland women come to the city to give birth because of the higher standard of medical care and the right of abode conferred on the child under the Basic Law. Of the 95,000 births in the city last year, more than 40 per cent of them were by mainlanders, prompting calls for the authorities to seek an interpretation of the mini-constitution from Beijing.
As part of his election platform, Leung advocated a public-hospital ban on deliveries by mainland women not married to Hongkongers.
The meeting yesterday included Basic Law Committee member Johnny Mok Shu-luen, University of Hong Kong law academics Albert Chen Hung-yee and Benny Tai Yiu-ting, and Basic Law Institute chairman Alan Hoo. 'Each of us has a different opinion on whether to seek interpretation, amend the law or let the court rectify itself,' Hoo said.
Another of Leung's priorities is the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, a free-trade deal with the mainland. On Tuesday, Leung asked members of 11 professional groups for Cepa 'wish lists' for him to take to Beijing. He also discussed the pact with permanent secretary for commerce and economic development Andrew Wong Ho-yuen.
When asked if yesterday's meeting touched on Leung's cabinet choices, Ip said: 'No. There is no need to be so concerned about that.'
Ip had said Leung and Henry Tang Ying-yen approached her when they were candidates about joining the next administration. She hinted that chief secretary would be her only acceptable choice.
Meanwhile, Federation of Trade Unions president Cheng Yiu-tong, led a 160-strong delegation to Beijing. They are expected to visit the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office under the State Council on Monday.