• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 9:36am
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Beijing and Exco justify intervention in Legco vote on probing TV licensing

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 6:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 6:01am

An Executive Council member and a Beijing source have justified the role the central government's liaison office played in the defeat of an effort by lawmakers to investigate the decision to deny independent HKTV a free-to-air television licence.

Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, a non-official Exco member, said the liaison office was entitled to weigh in - despite the Basic Law's prohibition on Beijing interfering in - as lawmakers' actions could "impact the Exco system".

Pro-establishment lawmakers admitted being approached by the office, with one, Paul Tse Wai-chun, dropping his promised support at the last minute. Pan-democrats said the move showed a blatant disregard for Hong Kong's autonomy.

Several lawmakers confirmed the lobbying ahead of Thursday's vote, in which a bid launched by pan-democrats to invoke the Legislative Council's special powers to probe the Exco decision to approve only two TV licence applications, leaving out HKTV, was defeated.

Confirmation of the liaison office's lobbying led some politicians to suggest the office plays an active behind-the-scenes role in local politics.

Article 22 of the Basic Law states: "No department of the Central People's Government… may interfere in the affairs which [HKSAR] administers on its own." But Law offered a different view yesterday.

"The liaison office ... has a responsibility to safeguard the Basic Law and 'one country, two systems'. Legco's attempt ... to investigate [the decision] impacted the Exco system," she said. "[Liaison officers] think it involves certain constitutional questions and so they got involved. But it does not mean every issue will have [them] involved or intervening."

Like Law, a Beijing source also described it as "normal" for Beijing representatives to communicate with lawmakers, as the investigation bid was "linked to the implementation of the Basic Law and preservation of the city's political system".

The Beijing source said: "Aren't the contacts between lawmakers and the office more normal than the exchanges between some other legislators with Taiwan-independence advocates and foreign consulates?" Three pan-democrats recently met Taiwanese opposition figure Shih Ming-teh.

Politics professor Ma Ngok, of Chinese University, said Law's comments were "ridiculous".

"If Law's stance made sense, then the liaison office could freely interpret what is meant by an 'impact to the system'," he said.

Three pan-democratic parties yesterday staged a protest outside the liaison office.

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This article is now closed to comments

ianson
Hong Kong's only hope of preserving the "two systems" promise is full democratic rule. The most pivotal moment in Hong Kong's future is now, as Beijing forces flood our every nook and cranny. Given another year or two of procrastination on reform and say "Goodbye Hong Kong. Welcome Southern Guangdong."
blue
"The liaison office ... has a responsibility to safeguard the Basic Law"

Then stop violating it by butting in to affairs that are well within the scope of HK's autonomy. Article 22 is very clear on this.
XYZ
The Liaison Office's interference in the Legco vote is a blatant violation of the Basic Law. What a surprise.
KwunTongBypass
Chinese Communist "Math":
1997 = 1 Country 2 Systems
2007 = 1 Country 1 1/2 Systems
2017 = 1 Country 1 System
chuchu59
If one uses an excuse of 'safeguarding the Basic Law' for intervention then nothing is safe from the clutches of the LO. Once the government feels that something is against the Basic Law, the LO can step in. So obviously since people say one of the nomination methods for future elections is against the BL the LO may already have started to weigh in. Come on ****, you are not really the 'LAW'.
321manu
" But it does not mean every issue will have [them] involved or intervening."
---I don't know if Ms. Law is an intelligent person. I do know she is capable of saying some incredibly stupid things. The point isn't that Beijing WILL interfere in every instance. The point is that, if Beijing CAN interfere whenever it sees fit, then it's no longer 2 systems. And for those who like to seek the cover and protection of "Basic Law" whenever their arguments fade, they should note that such interference contravenes the very Law that they seem to swear by like gravity. So if one part of Basic Law can be contravened in certain circumstances, then why can't others?
In a sense, I sympathize with those who parrot the Beijing line. In order to stick to their world-view and to maintain the party line, logic has to completely go out the window. That's a tough way to live, but I guess somebody's gotta do it.
 
 
 
 
 

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