Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping tells Hong Kong to stick to Basic Law on reform

City bound by mini-constitution and NPC view, president tells chief executive at Apec summit

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 October, 2013, 4:33pm

President Xi Jinping took a firm line yesterday on political reform in Hong Kong, telling Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying the city must strictly follow the Basic Law and decisions of the NPC's Standing Committee.

After a closed-door meeting in Bali, where both men are attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit, Leung said: "President Xi gave a clear view on political reform.

"All issues related to political reform must be in accordance with the stipulations of the Basic Law and the decisions of the NPC Standing Committee. In addition, as Hong Kong is a society that upholds the rule of law, the SAR government and the whole of society should act in accordance with the law."

Veteran analyst Johnny Lau Yui-siu said Xi's remarks indicated Beijing was standing firm on reform and would not make concessions easily.

In a separate meeting, Xi told a Taiwanese envoy that the two sides should resolve their political disagreements and that Beijing was willing to hold talks with Taiwan on an equal basis.

Leung said he had reported on a range of issues affecting Hong Kong, but he did not say clearly if he had mentioned the Occupy Central movement or the idea for the public nomination of chief executive candidates.

Article 45 of the Basic Law mandates the selection of the chief executive "by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures".

The standing committee said in 2007 that the formation of the nominating committee "could be modelled on that of the election committee". Leung was elected by a 1,193-strong election committee after three candidates met its nomination threshold.

Beijing has promised universal suffrage for Hong Kong by 2017. Activists plan to occupy Central next year if proposals fall short of international standards.

Last month Zhang Xiaoming , director of Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong, rejected the idea of public nominations, saying it violated the Basic Law.

Leung also mentioned the Manila hostage killings in which eight Hongkongers were shot dead on a hijacked bus. Survivors and relatives want a formal apology from the Philippine government and compensation.

"On the spot, President Xi instructed relevant officials of the nation to continue following up the matter with the Philippine government," said Leung.

Nine staff working for Hong Kong broadcasters had their Apec media passes revoked after reporters were called "impolite" for firing questions at Philippine President Benigno Aquino.

Analyst Lau said Xi's pledge on the Manila tragedy was a gesture. "Xi just wants to pacify Hongkongers and show Leung has done something in order to improve his low popularity rating." But lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who assisted the survivors and families, hoped Xi's action would finally bring progress.

Xinhua reported that Xi gave recognition to Leung's work.

Additional reporting by Johnny Tam