The Basic Law was drafted as part of the Sino-British Joint Declaration covering Hong Kong after its handover to China on July 1, 1997. The joint declaration stated that Hong Kong would be governed under the principle of ‘one country-two systems’ and would continue to enjoy its capitalist system and individual freedoms for 50 years after the handover.
Pro-Beijing camp woo pan-democrats with ‘exclusive’ talks for Shanghai visit
Pro-Beijing figures 'will find a way' for rivals to have private meeting with officials in Shanghai
Pressure is growing on pan-democrat lawmakers to join a trip to Shanghai after pro-government figures said they would find a way for them to have an exclusive meeting with Beijing officials.
This emerged yesterday when one of the hold-outs, Frederick Fung Kin-kee, of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, said he was willing to go after hearing of the gesture.
But other pan-democrats want a guarantee.
"We still want the central government to give us a reply first on whether the officials are willing to have an exclusive meeting with us," Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan said.
Only 44 of the 70 lawmakers - and just one pan-democrat, radical "Long-Hair " Leung Kwok-hung - had signed up by the deadline yesterday to join the visit on April 12 and 13 for talks with Beijing officials on Hong Kong's political reform.
Pan-democrats have demanded an exclusive meeting with the director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Wang Guangya , Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei and central government liaison office director Zhang Xiaoming .
Pro-Beijing figures including Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing believe such an arrangement is possible.
Yesterday Fung quoted Tsang as saying he had heard of the possibility that establishment lawmakers would excuse themselves from a meeting with the Beijing officials to give pan-democrats an exclusive audience.
"While the pro-establishment camp hopes an exclusive meeting can be arranged for pan-democrats, [Tsang] heard that some pro-Beijing lawmakers are willing to stay away and let pan-democrats have an [exclusive] dialogue with the officials," Fung said.
Lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin said he believed most of his pro-Beijing allies would agree to such an arrangement. "We really hope - and would be very glad - to see pan-democrats finally start a rational discussion with Beijing officials on reform," he said.
But Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said he would respect the arrangements made by mainland officials.
Ho said the pan-democratic camp, which meets today, could make a decision by Thursday, when all parties would have consulted their members.