Political reform in Hong Kong only possible through consensus, says Wang

The Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office says public nomination of candidates in elections is 'far away' from the Basic Law and reform requires consensus with Beijing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 December, 2013, 4:11pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 December, 2013, 4:25pm

Public nomination – an electoral process that allows registered voters to put forward candidates – deviates from the framework set by the city’s mini-constitution, the Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Wang Guangya said in Beijing on Thursday.

Wang’s remarks came after President Xi Jinping called on Hongkongers to forge a consensus on political reform through “pragmatic discussion”.

Wang echoed Xi’s comments by saying constitutional reform should be in line with the Basic Law as well as with decisions made by the National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee.

“To be pragmatic is not to stick to your own thoughts and try to alter [others]. [It is] only by mutual respect that we can reach for a consensus,” Wang said.

“It is already very clear that ‘public nomination’ is definitely relatively far away from [the framework of the] Basic Law. [The] Basic Law has clearly stated that [nomination] should go through the nominating committee,” he added.

When asked if he was satisfied with the performance of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who currently has a low popularity rating, Wang said popularity is not an important factor in evaluating performance.

“We have to see if the policies [put forward by Leung] have met the peoples’ needs,” he said. “Popularity rating fluctuates every day – just like stocks.”

Leung, accompanied by three ministers – Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Chan Ka-keung and Secretary for Housing and Transport Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, called on Wang this morning at the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

The free-to-air TV licence saga was not on the agenda, Wang said.