• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 2:14pm
NewsHong Kong

UK and foreign businesses concerned about governance in Hong Kong

British consul general voices the foreign commercial sector's concerns that the city's political developments may affect its economy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 May, 2014, 11:18am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 May, 2014, 2:53am

The international business community in Hong Kong is deeply concerned about the city's electoral reform and governance issues, the British consul general in Hong Kong says.

Caroline Wilson also noted the considerable lack of debate over the nominating committee's composition, which could be negotiated with Beijing in the ongoing discussion on how to elect Hong Kong's chief executive via universal suffrage in 2017.

Britain's top diplomat in the city was speaking yesterday during a breakfast meeting with five pan-democratic lawmakers.

One lawmaker, Kenneth Leung of the accountancy sector, quoted Wilson as saying that the foreign business community was watching Hong Kong's electoral reform very closely.

"She said the international business community was very concerned about Hong Kong's constitutional development," Leung said after the meeting.

"Politics and the economy cannot be split, and they are concerned why it appears many bills in Hong Kong cannot get through [the Legislative Council].

"The businesses see a legitimacy problem, which leads to governance issues. They think it is necessary to boost the legitimacy [of future governments]."

The hour-long meeting at Wilson's Mid-Levels residence at the Opus was attended by the Civic Party's Alan Leong Kah-kit and Ronny Tong Ka-wah, Democrat Sin Chung-kai and IT-sector lawmaker Charles Mok.

On electoral reform, Wilson said little light had been shed on the composition of the nominating committee, which is supposed to be the only body empowered to put forward chief executive candidates in 2017.

"She is concerned why we have had little debate over the composition of the nominating committee," Tong said.

The consul general thought the committee's composition "was a negotiable issue with Beijing", said Leong.

But despite some pan-democrats' pessimism over reaching a deal with Beijing on electoral reform, Wilson seemed optimistic.

"She thinks there is room for discussion with Beijing, based on her encounters with central government officials," Leung said.

Wilson met foreign ministry commissioner Song Zhe on Thursday. "[We] agreed on the paramount importance of 2017 for Hong Kong," she posted on social networking site Twitter.

In response to an inquiry from the South China Morning Post, a British consulate spokeswoman said: "[Britain] has many ties to Hong Kong … as well as obligations as a signatory of the Sino-British Join Declaration … It is vital to us that Hong Kong continues to prosper.

"We believe a transition to universal suffrage that meets [Hongkongers'] aspirations … is the best way to preserve Hong Kong's strengths."

Sin said the group also discussed Occupy Central's unofficial "referendum" next month. "I told her I expected [the turnout] to be about 100,000 to 200,000."

Occupy Central's civil referendum will be held from June 20 to 22, when eligible voters are invited to pick a reform proposal from three that were shortlisted earlier this month. The civil-disobedience movement will promote the winning proposal.



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This article is now closed to comments

You kicked them out? Hahahaha... yeah, after they built a wonderful city, thriving economy and saved numerous Chinese refugees from the Japanese and Communists, in partnership with the local population of this region.
No, you didn't kick anyone out. You never do. There was no war of liberation. You just do as you always do and that is follow what your bosses tell you to do and tell you to think. British or CCP what's the difference?
Perhaps if Ms Wilson could get her own house in order and issue passports in a timely manner, I might be prepared to listen to her views.
As someone running a business in HK, my main concern is the seeming incompetence of the CE and principal officials to solve any problems facing HK. Public funds are being squandered on vanity projects that contribute little or nothing to the local economy and actually boost the cost for running a business. The obsession on tourism and the failure to make use of key sites like Kai Tak and West Kowloon for USEFUL developments has made Shanghai and Singapore the go to cities for many of our clients. The latest foolishness shown by Carrie in lying to the people of HK that the WKCD can't be changed because it has been approved by the Town Planning Board is completely false; does she think we are idiots?

The method for selecting the CE is less important than getting someone competent and getting rid of the FC so Legco can act as a check on misguided policies.
No. Sadly they did take with them most of the backbone that was in HK. So now you bow down to masters in Beijing. So it goes.
Well said!
i think its time we stop using the UK or the usa as benchmarks for anything, and to tell these people who dishes out advice to us to **** off. frankly, HK is richer per capita than both of them, we have better healthcare, better infrastructure, better restaurants and entertainment, less poverty, etc, etc.
why do these people have the urge to lecture us all the time? Why do they think they are better tha us? we in hk are not perfect, but we r definitely better than them. its like having a man with no legs telling us we have ugly feet
Are you sure you have better healthcare, better infrastructure, better restaurants and better entertainment? Are you sure you have less poverty compare to uk or usa?
frankly who cares, when the air we and our children are breathing here is slowly killing us.
Your comment has some merit but perhaps the issue is that the current program for selecting CE is to make sure we get someone who complies with the wishes of Beijing more than complies with the desires of the people of HK. Their view of competence and ours vary significantly. They want a good servant who keeps us in line and not asking uncomfortable questions that might make people on the Mainland think they too might have the power to question the party. We want someone who is looking out for us which might at times put him at odds with the Masters in Beijing and require him to seek some compromise from them rather than bending over to accept their desires. Perhaps we want someone who sees that he reports to us as the governed who have granted him limited authority to rule in accordance with our desires and not to masters in Beijing.



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