Beijing's point man calls for unity
Ng Tze-wei in Beijing and Tanna Chong
Beijing's top man on Hong Kong affairs, Wang Guangya, has called for reconciliation and urged Hongkongers to rally behind chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying.
The director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office made his remarks in Beijing yesterday while speaking to a 160-member delegation of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions.
Wang's statement - hours before Leung's own duty call on the capital - made him the first central government official to weigh in on the March 25 election, which had split the pro-establishment camp.
Wang acknowledged there were 'complications and setbacks' during the election, but said Leung's victory after just one round of voting showed Hongkongers' 'recognition, trust and hopes' in the former Executive Council convenor.
'Since there were multiple candidates, there were different groups and individuals voicing their support for different candidates,' Wang said. 'This is normal in an election.
'Now that the ballot is over, everyone should look forward and put aside the differences that arose during the election.'
Leung won with the votes of 689 of the 1,193 Election Committee members eligible; there were 285 votes for former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and 76 for pan-democratic candidate Albert Ho Chun-yan.
'[Every one] should help foster reconciliation and unity in Hong Kong, and help the new chief executive and the next government to better govern Hong Kong,' Wang said.
Wang said he particularly agreed with Leung's post-election response, that there would no longer be any 'Tang's camp' or 'Leung's camp', but only 'Hong Kong's camp'.
'In Mandarin, the words for 'camp' and 'win' are pronounced in the same way [ying],' he said. 'I believe that with every one in Hong Kong showing their Hong Kong spirit, Hong Kong will definitely win.'
Before starting his four-day trip, Leung said he would continue to seek reconciliation.
'I would invite talent into my cabinet from various sectors ... regardless of their camps,' he said. 'As long as they share my vision and are committed to serving Hong Kong, I will nominate them for Beijing's appointment.'
Leung is expected to meet Wang this morning, before his formal meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao. He is also expected to be received by President Hu Jintao and Vice-President Xi Jinping.
A government source said he would also visit the Hong Kong government's Beijing office. Leung said he had not sought to meet other senior mainland officials yet, as he would only take office on July 1.
At their meeting, Wang and the federation also discussed Hong Kong's need to develop more political talent, with FTU president Cheng Yiu-tong mentioning Wang's comments that more leaders should be groomed before universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020.
Wang said there was no question that the Hong Kong government had a constitutional duty to introduce national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law, according to Cheng. But it was up to the administrations to build a consensus as to how and when to do it.
A move to implement such legislation - which requires Hong Kong to outlaw acts of treason, secession or sedition against the central government - was a major cause of a 500,000-strong protest in 2003.
Wang was also quoted as saying the issue of mainland mothers giving birth in Hong Kong should be resolved ultimately through the law rather than administratively.