As lawmakers prepared to leave the city today for the Shanghai meeting with central government officials, student activists urged pan-democratic lawmakers not to “kneel down” in their pursuit of public nomination of the chief executive during their exclusive meeting.
The activists – from the Alliance for Direct Nomination, formed by 12 groups including student-led group Scholarism and the Hong Kong Federation of Students – staged a petition at the Hong Kong International airport before the 57 lawmakers departed for Shanghai today.
“Public nomination is indispensable in the political reform,” said alliance member Lau Ka-yee. “We hope our pan-democratic lawmakers could reflect the views of Hongkongers to central government officials.”
The alliance gave a recorder and a knee pad to the pan-democrats. “We urge pan-democrats to record the closed-door meeting with the Beijing officials and not to ‘kneel down’ by giving up public nomination,” Ho Chi-kwan, of the League in Defence of Hong Kong’s freedom, said.
Labour Party’s Cyd Ho Sau-lan said the pan-democrats would raise proposals that include public nomination – a process that allows the public to nominate candidates for the chief executive – to the Beijing officials at the meeting. “We will do our best to reflect the views of Hong Kong people to them,” she said.
Meanwhile, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, the League of Social Democrats lawmaker who does not have a home-return permit, said he was not sure if he could enter Shanghai smoothly. “I wouldn’t worry too much, but I plan to hand in two petition letters to central government officials and will wear a ‘June 4’ t-shirt [in the meeting with officials],” Leung said.
Cyd Ho, who also doesn’t have a permit, said the 14 pan-democrats would boycott the trip and return to Hong Kong if Leung Kwok-hung was barred from entering. Ho and Leung had earlier applied for one-off permit to mainland earlier this week.
The 57 lawmakers on the Shanghai trip, including 14 pan-democrats, will start their programme tomorrow, while the Beijing officials will not arrive in the city until Sunday.
Confirmation of the two-hour exclusive meeting with Wang Guangya, director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei, came only yesterday, after weeks of negotiation between pan-democrats and the mainland authorities.