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Li Keqiang

Li Keqiang, born in 1955, became China's premier in March 2013. Like ex-president Hu Jintao, his power base lies with the Communist Youth League, where he was a member of the secretariat of the league’s central committee in the 1980s and later in the 1990s the secretariat’s first secretary. His regional governance experience includes a period as vice party boss, governor and party boss of Henan province between 1998 and 2003 and party boss of Liaoning province beginning in 2004. He became vice premier in 2008. Li graduated from Peking University with a degree in economics. 

NewsHong Kong

Li pressures Aquino to resolve the bus hostage row

Families of victims say Li's call for resolution is a 'breakthrough'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 October, 2013, 10:14am


  • Yes: 21%
  • No: 79%
11 Oct 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 314

Premier Li Keqiang has urged Philippine President Benigno Aquino to resolve the row over the Manila bus hostage crisis as soon as possible, taking the impasse to a new diplomatic level.

Families of the victims and political analysts described it as a "breakthrough" and believed it would put pressure on the Philippines.

But one observer noted that given the tensions between the two countries over territorial claims in the South China Sea it might not have an immediate impact.

According to a report by the China News Service, Li had a brief conversation with Aquino in a VIP room during the East Asia Summit on Wednesday.

Li said the incident had "dragged on for long" enough and had "affected the feelings of the people in China, especially the compatriots in Hong Kong", the report said. Li said he hoped the Philippine government would resolve the incident reasonably and fairly.

Aquino said a probe carried out by the Philippines was continuing and the Philippines would strive to handle the incident properly.

Li also explained to Aquino China's principles and stance over their sovereignty dispute in the South China Sea, the report said.

The conversations took place after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told Aquino during a 40-minute meeting on Monday night that unless the matter was resolved properly it would continue to stand in the way of normal relations between Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Aquino agreed that ministerial meetings should take place as soon as possible to discuss how to follow up the matter, but refused to apologise.

The hostage tragedy happened in August 2010 when policeman Rolando Mendoza took 22 Hongkongers hostage on a tour bus and shot eight dead before being killed himself.

Tse Chi-kin, elder brother of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, said it was a breakthrough that the premier talked to Aquino in a forceful way.

"It is definitely a good thing. In the past three years, the president [Aquino] has not respected us at all," Tse said.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who has been assisting victims' families, interpreted Li's remarks as a warning to the Philippine government.



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This article is now closed to comments

A simple and sincere apology especially coming from the highest leader runs a long way for comfort and forgiveness. Weighing in national pride is unnecessary. US proves a great nation it is in its handling of the aftermath of that tragedy.
May the Hong Kong victims rest in peace with the help from Philippines.
Would this dislike explain your position?
Would this dislike explain your position?
Another dislike without explanation. A void.
At the international level HK has no clout' as can be shown by the attitude of Aquino shown to CY. So, to the families and I dare say a great number of HK people it shows that Beijing will not stand on the sidelines when we are bullied and I appreciate that. Whatever the outcome, I believe Beijing has done what it needs to do. Leave the rest to the HK Government.
Mendoza is not the only responsible party. The last mayor of Manila, Mr. Alfredo Lim (who is a family friend of Aquino), knowing full well that Mendoza could see it all on television news, ordered the arrest of Mendoza's brother, which prompted him to start shooting. Puno (Aquino's best friend), who was appointed by Aquino as the one in charge of the Metro Manila Philippine National Police was enjoying himself having dinner at a restaurant during the shootings. We all witnessed the botch rescue operation - a classic example of all that should not be done during a hostage rescue. They were in fact like a bunch of kindergarten kids.
Aquino did not punish his friends, although in their own findings both Alfredo Lim and Puno were held responsible. All they got was a slap on the waist (which is a mis-use of Presidential powers and is a kind of corruption).
Yes the community of Hong Kong should take up the cause of the families in a civilized way, after all, it is this corrupt Filipino Government and not the Filipino people who are responsible. It is this corrupt Filipino Government and not the Filipino people who needs to apologize to Hong Kong, and to pay a compensation to the families.
Mendoza is NOT the ONLY guilty party. The Mayor of Manila of the time, Alfredo Lim (family friend of Aquino), was in fault, knowing full well that Mendoza will be watching it on television, had Mendoza's brother arrested. Puno (best friend of Aquino) who was in charge of Metro Manila PNP was not even there, he was away busy having his evening meal in a restaurant some distance away. The Philippine National Police demonstrated what should never have been done in a hostage rescue operation - they were like a bunch of kindergarten kids.
Aquino did not even follow the recommendations of his Justice Minister - instead of punishing his cronies, he only gave them a slap on the waist (using presidential powers to protect your friends when they are in fact is a form of corruption).
Given the above facts, and given the fact that this useless Government of the Philippines has not bother to say sorry, or even pay a single cent of compensation to the victims and their families. Given the fact that Aquino has been looking down on the people of Hong Kong, we as a community should stand up and tell the Government of the Philippines that they had gone too far. Before anyone of you accuse me of racism, my wife is a Filipino and my Filipino friends all feel that their government should have resolve the entire matter three years ago.
Stand on the sideline == nonchalance. Step in == interference.
Despite the good intentions of premier Li this is still interference in Hong Kong's affairs. The premier couldn't have chosen a worse time to interfere.
I thought the mainland was responsible for foreign affairs in Hong Kong....are they now handing back to the HKSAR the right of direct foreign affairs negotiations?




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