Wang Guangya urges Hongkongers to give Leung Chun-ying a chance
Beijing's point man says chief executive has been doing his best for city, and won't be fired
Emily Tsang and Mimi Lau
The director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Wang Guangya , has called on Hongkongers to give Leung Chun-ying a chance to work for Hong Kong and dismissed as "groundless rumours" any notion Beijing was considering sacking the chief executive.
While giving his full backing to Leung, he said there were many reasons behind Leung's flagging popularity.
"Personally, I feel that in recent months Leung Chun-ying has really been making an effort to improve the economy and livelihoods in Hong Kong. But, of course, when there are new policies, there is a need for different people to communicate to gain understanding and support from different walks of life."
Wang said reports of Beijing replacing Leung were nonsense and urged Hongkongers to "give Leung a chance to do his job".
It was Wang's first open backing of the chief executive since he took office four months ago.
Referring to anti-mainland sentiment in the city, Wang said such feelings stemmed from misunderstandings.
"Of course, since the mainland and Hong Kong have different traditions, there might be some misunderstandings," Wang replied in English to a question.
"I do hope both sides can give more respect to each other and have more understanding for different traditions and living habits, and can therefore be more accommodating."
He also said calls for independence by some activists would not gain support among most Hongkongers.
Peng Qinghua, director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, also commented in Beijing. He said arguments and divergence were normal after the handover.
But in a written reply to media, Peng stressed: "'One country' and 'two systems' cannot be mutually cut apart and become confrontational. Only by integrating the two organically can ... superiority be elaborated."
Meanwhile, former secretary for justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie commented on her recent speech in which she accused the city's judges of failing to understand the relationship between Hong Kong and Beijing.
She told the mainland's Global Times on Wednesday that the dispute stemmed from a lack of understanding of the "one country, two systems" concept and judicial independence, and said the media had misled the public.
"The concept is often misunderstood among the public, and the media either does not understand it or misinterprets it on purpose. There are some who take advantage of the confusion among politicians and the public, who exploit dissatisfaction in our society, to mislead citizens."
Executive councillor Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun said she believed Leung would still be keen to seek re-election after completing his current five-year term.