Leung Chun-ying

Leung Chun-ying's Beijing visit 'won't yield directives on electoral reform'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 9:27pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 3:54am

Don't expect anything solid from Beijing leaders during Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's duty visit next Monday, says a veteran China watcher.

Johnny Lau Yui-siu said the state leaders would not convey concrete criticism or directives on Hong Kong's electoral reform during official meetings as they would only trigger a negative reaction from Hongkongers.

"Leung would not be condemned face to face despite his flagging popularity," Lau said.

"From the experiences of previous chief executives, explicit comments would just trigger Hongkongers' discontent, accusing Beijing of interference."

The chief executive will make his second duty visit to Beijing from Monday to Thursday. Besides briefing state leaders on Hong Kong's circumstances, Leung will meet Wang Guangya , director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

During his maiden duty visit last year, Leung received "affirmation" from outgoing premier Wen Jiabao for his efforts to sort out the city's housing and poverty problems. He was also urged to tackle problems in other policy areas.

But Leung has faced a tough year since. The latest University of Hong Kong poll found that confidence in the chief executive remained at record lows - 66 per cent of the 1,006 respondents expressed no confidence in Leung.

The years ahead are unlikely to get any easier for the leader, as the government launches five months of consultations on electoral reform.

Leung will also meet officials from the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Finance. His entourage includes his usual line-up of officers, as well as Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, who will become director of information services in February, and Michael Wong Wai-lun, who Nip will replace.