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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 10:28pm
NewsHong Kong

Beijing liaison chief hints at screening of CE candidates

Beijing liaison chief tells lawmakers that universal suffrage in 2017 could also see mechanism to 'sieve' hopefuls to protect national sovereignty

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 July, 2013, 3:17pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 12:16pm


  • Yes: 64%
  • No: 36%
17 Jul 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 292

Beijing's top man in Hong Kong has dropped the clearest hint yet that a screening mechanism could play a role in selecting future chief executives.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, also said that national sovereignty and security must be protected as the city achieves universal suffrage by 2017.

It is by no means an unreasonable demand that national sovereignty, national safety and the rights of the central government must be well protected
Zhang Xiaoming

During a lunch with 50 lawmakers on his unprecedented visit to the Legislative Council, described by one as "cordial on the surface", Zhang delivered strong messages in a friendly and sometimes jocular tone. But outside the building later he took a tougher line, slamming the Occupy Central civil disobedience campaign, which he said would be a disaster with "lasting consequences" for Hong Kong.

He told lawmakers: "There is no doubt of the central government's position - and sincerity - to support Hong Kong achieving universal suffrage.

"[But] the methods must follow the actual situation of Hong Kong, which means it is not a country. It is by no means an unreasonable demand that national sovereignty, national safety and the rights of the central government must be well protected."

Radical lawmakers were on their best behaviour - there were no objects thrown or slogans chanted. "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung gave Zhang a book on the Communist Party's pledge for democracy during its struggle against the Kuomintang in the 1940s, while People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip and Raymond Chan Chi-chuen offered another book entitled Don't Want to be a Chinese in My Next Life.

The three then left the dining hall after presenting their gifts.

Zhang used another gift - a sieve given by lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee - as a metaphor to illustrate the advantages of a screening process. "What is the sin of a sieve?" he asked. "It was our ancestors' wisdom that invented the sieve. Otherwise how can we sift fine grains from coarse grains? We cannot simply deny that a sieve has its function."

Video: Beijing envoy, Hong Kong lawmakers in landmark talks

Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said the meeting was "cordial on the surface" but there was "a lot of tough talk" on universal suffrage. "The hint of a screening process also touches a nerve as it gives a very bad message that universal suffrage in 2017 will not be a genuine one that reflects the people's will," Lee said.

Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit believed Zhang was not serious with his metaphor.

"The most effective sieve would be one that let millions of voters sift the candidates that they do not prefer," he said.

Beijing-loyalist Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, played down the metaphor. "I do not think it has anything to do with electoral reform," he said.

Nineteen of the 27 pan-democratic lawmakers attended, while Zhang brought 11 colleagues from the liaison office.




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This article is now closed to comments

Amartya Sen: "India will prick up its ears
when comparisons with China are made, …
China invested in education and healthcare …”
(Guardian Jul, 16)
Education and healthcare investments usually bring positive returns
But exceptions are possible
Actually it depends on how one makes use of what one learns
For example, literacy has turned a feeble-minded pessimist into a defeatist
Blinded by a low self-image
he blindly believes every propaganda he has read
about the paradise on the other side of the hedge
and mistakes the thieves den where he was brought up,
his constricted personal history / circumstances,
as generalized characteristics of his motherland
Of the myriad guck Joe Chung exhibits
in the trash “Don't Want to be a Chinese in My Next Life”
I recall his prejudice about dogs in Chinese communities
alleging that they are “invariably wild”
He should be taken to an education tour of HK’s dog parks
or the seaside of Aldrich Bay
under leash
Albert Chan Wai-yip and Raymond Chan Chi-chuen
are what they read
Your knees must be aching.
Re Joe Chung
Rubbish Chung misunderstands China's difficulties
which are obvious but complex
I find the challenge an honor
that I can try to understand China’s difficulties as a Chinese
and help defend China's rightful dignity
in the family of nations and human civilization
My only regret is that I haven’t been more capable and devoted
Let me be a Chinese again in my next life
Dai Muff
"Most HK voters" have shown their opinion of CY. But he is still CE.
Dai Muff
And this was indeed "Nothing like a good dose of sincerity"



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