Dr Joseph Lee breaks with pan-democrats to meet liaison office chief

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 May, 2014, 3:30am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 May, 2014, 3:30am

Health-sector lawmaker Dr Joseph Lee Kok-long reiterated his support for the public's right to nominate chief executive candidates as he broke with pan-democrats to agree a one-on-one meeting with the head of Beijing's liaison office tomorrow.

While most pan-democrats insist they will only meet liaison chief Zhang Xiaoming in party groups, Lee became the first of the camp's members to agree an individual meeting at the liaison office in Sai Wan. But Lee, who is not affiliated to any party, says he is merely doing his job rather than thinking about unity within the camp.

"As a lawmaker, it is my responsibility to discuss political reform," Lee said. "I support the Alliance for True Democracy's plans, and I have made it clear … that universal suffrage should include rights to be elected, to nominate and to elect."

He said his decision on whether to support the government's proposal for the city's first democratic election in 2017 would depend on whether it addressed the concerns of Hongkongers, not on talks with Zhang.

The alliance proposes allowing the public, political parties and a nominating committee to pick candidates. Beijing and its supporters say only the committee can choose candidates.

To pass a reform plan, the government will need a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Council, meaning about five pan-democrats must support it. Zhang's requests for individual meetings have led to speculation that he is attempting to woo lawmakers to support the plan.

Education-sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said Lee's decision was a "personal choice" and said he was considering accepting an invitation to meet Zhang.

"Pan-democrats have a common aspiration … but different parties and individuals can handle [the details] differently," said Ip, who is not party-affiliated.

Civic Party and Democratic Party members say they will only meet Zhang in party groups and away from the liaison office.