Universal suffrage in Hong Kong

‘Don’t have high expectations’ over Shanghai meeting with officials, warns lawmaker

Lawmaker seeks to calm expectations as 14 pan-democrats sign-up for mainland visit

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 April, 2014, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 April, 2014, 3:52am

Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah has tried to calm expectations of the Legislative Council trip to Shanghai later this month saying it's not "a matter of life and death".

"The Shanghai trip is just a start [of discussions]. It should not be seen as a matter of life and death. Hongkongers should not have too high an expectation."

His remarks, made on Commercial Radio yesterday, came after 14 out of 27 pan-democratic lawmakers signalled their intent to join the two-day trip on April 12 and 13. The visit includes a half-day meeting with Beijing's top officials for Hong Kong.

The list of attendees was finalised after the Democratic Party decided it would send Sin Chung-kai and Helena Wong Pik-wan.

Hongkongers should not have too high an expectation
Ronny Tong, Civic Party lawmaker

Also going to Shanghai are four members of the Civic Party and radical lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, of the League of Social Democrats, who has called on pan-democrats to make public nomination of chief executive candidates the basis of their fight for universal suffrage.

The legislators are expected to discuss electoral reform with Wang Guangya , director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office; Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei ; and the central government's liaison office director Zhang Xiaoming .

It is unclear if pan-democrats will be granted their request for an exclusive meeting with Beijing officials, away from the 44 pro-government lawmakers who will also be on the trip.

Sin said there had been an "internal consensus" that the Democratic Party would send two people and that the names were "decided in two minutes".

Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing, who has been demanding that Beijing give the pan-democrats back their home return permits, will not be going. But she defended Sin's name being added to the list, saying he was a "senior Democrat" and "the person-in-charge of the party caucus".

Frederick Fung Kin-kee, spokesperson for the pan-democrats' weekly discussion group, said the group could not agree a strategy for the meeting with Beijing officials. "But we are united on the principle that universal suffrage has to be genuine and without screening," he said.