Security chiefs deny discussing Occupy Central with China's leadership
A senior state leader's rallying call to Hong Kong's disciplined services "did not seem to target" the Occupy Central campaign, a propaganda official at the central government's liaison office said yesterday.
Local security and police chiefs echoed that sentiment, saying they "did not talk about Occupy Central" during meetings in Beijing.
On Tuesday Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People's Congress and the highest-ranking mainland official in charge of Hong Kong affairs, said that Hong Kong's "highly professional" men and women in uniform played an important role in safeguarding national security.
Zhang was also quoted by Xinhua as saying that "the rule of law is key" to carrying out democratic reform.
Zhang's comments came during a meeting with security minister Lai Tung-kwok and police chief Andy Tsang Wai-hung.
Some analysts said the speech had been designed to boost police morale ahead of civil disobedience planned by the Occupy Central movement.
China analyst Johnny Lau Yui-siu said the meeting between Zhang, Lai and Tsang showed that Beijing was worried about the pro-democracy movement.
Hao Tiechuan, director general of publicity, cultural and sports affairs at the liaison office, held a media lunch at short notice to "express his views" about Zhang's comments.
When asked whether Zhang, No 3 on the Politburo Standing Committee, had reflected Beijing's wish to suppress Occupy Central, Hao said: "I couldn't see such an indication … Zhang's speech was out of goodwill; [it was] mild and frank."
He said Zhang's main theme had been the necessity of economic development and maintaining the rule of law.
When asked whether occupying Central was detrimental to the city's legal spirit, Hao declined to comment.
"Zhang's speech on Tuesday was all-round," said security chief Lai in Beijing. "He talked about the economy and political reform, and it came out of care for Hong Kong," he said.
"In our meeting with the public security ministry we didn't exchange information about frontline tactics, [such as] how to deal with huge protests. We didn't talk about Occupy Central."