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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:13am
Beijing White Paper 2014
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POLITICS

Martin Lee criticises NPC for 'weird' comments on 'external interference' in Hong Kong affairs

Martin Lee queries apparent reference to Britain in comment about 'external interference'; Zhang also says democracy must proceed 'step by step'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 July, 2014, 7:15pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 July, 2014, 12:53pm
 

The mainland's top official on Hong Kong affairs warned yesterday that "external interference" in the city's affairs was totally unacceptable to Beijing - an apparent reference to Britain.

Zhang Dejiang made the comments to Beijing loyalists during talks in Shenzhen, a Liberal Party source reported.

He also said the 2017 chief executive election was not the "be-all and end-all" in the city's pursuit of universal suffrage.

Zhang, chairman of the National People's Congress, was speaking as pan-democratic leading lights Martin Lee Chu-ming and Anson Chan Fang On-sang concluded a week-long visit to Britain. While in London, the pair raised concerns about political reform with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Watch: 'Fruitful' or 'shameful'? Anson Chan and Martin Lee on UK stance over Hong Kong

Lee, asked if he thought Zhang's comment was aimed at them, said he thought the remark was "weird". Referring to the agreement that set out the terms of Hong Kong's 1997 return to Chinese sovereignty, he said: "Britain was one of the signatories of the Joint Declaration. How could Britain have no responsibility in Hong Kong affairs?"

The Liberal source said: "Zhang said there were foreign countries meddling in Hong Kong's affairs which would affect the city's prosperity and stability ... and this was unacceptable to Beijing." Zhang also insisted democratic development in Hong Kong should take place "step by step".

And he was quoted by Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, of the Business and Professionals Alliance, as saying Beijing would not back down because of Occupy Central, which is threatening to paralyse the business district in its push for universal suffrage.

Dr Chan Kin-man, co-organiser of the Occupy movement, said: "Now Beijing says 2017 is only the starting point … then when can we finally achieve genuine universal suffrage?"

Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said the model for a chief executive election could be improved after 2017, but the next poll must offer a genuine choice of candidates.

Zhang met representatives from pro-establishment parties and individual Beijing-loyalist heavyweights, including Basic Law Committee deputy Elsie Leung Oi-sie.

Also present were mainland officials, Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei and the director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Wang Guangya.

On Saturday Zhang held talks on political reform with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

NPC delegate Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said: "Zhang quoted international [examples] that democratic development must proceed step by step … and it should also be in accordance with the local situation."

Meanwhile, Lee expressed disappointment at British Prime Minister David Cameron's "conscious decision" not to see them.

"I believe the British government policy on Hong Kong could be summarised in three words, 'More China trade,'" Lee said. "This is, in my view, shameful."

But former chief secretary Chan said the trip was "fruitful".

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This article is now closed to comments

norodnik
Cunning? The CCP has no clue as to how to engage the People of Hong Kong. Rather than beat HK down they should use HK as an experiment about how to engage in meaningful dialogue unlike how they round up everybody that has a complaint and send them to black hotels, reform through labour camps or pop a cap in the back of their head and charge the family for the cost of the bullet. They should stop watching documentaries about Gorbachov and the collapse of the Soviet Union and watch the trial and execution of Ceausescu on YouTube.
A Matsui
Anson Chan and Martin Lee, Occupy Central only knows all about sabotaging HK future as a peaceful, prosperous, united and forward looking society. They have never made any positive contributions.
mh0908
I feel that Martin Lee has too much negative energy in him. He seems always to be in a bad mood. As for Anson Chan, I just don't get it. The visit to Britain and to parliament was a disaster. How can it be classified as "fruitful"? Is this how all politicians speak? Gloss over the truth all the time? I am sick of radical politics in Hong Kong!
icsl
Perhaps Martin, Anson and those who waived the British flag in Hong Kong at protest should apply for migration to UK since they preferred so much the British rule.
Wake up! UK took HK by force, they are no gentlemen. Hongkongers are finally free, returning to our mother land. If you don't like your own mother, you are old enough to leave her.
Don't stay in Hong Kong and disturb our peace and order.
Taking high profile trips to foreign countries for support.
This is, in my view, shameful.
ejmciii
You have plenty of Beijing sycophants to speak for you, slave. They will make sure you never have to think or never want to think. Pathetic.
lasamiddleschool@126.com
Some radicals in hk are simply unbelieveable and delirious, if not outright dumb, then there is no other way to explain their behaviour other than promoting some hidden agenda on behalf of their western masters.
How hard is it to grasp the fact that hk is an administrative region UNDER the PRC, which puts it on equal footing with beijing, shanghai or guangdong? it is NOT an equal political entity with regard to the central gov. How hard is that to understand? on one hand, radicals want to reject all mainland influence big or small (maybe they think a closed border is best), yet on the other hand you want to overthrow the central gov and party? are these ppl plain stupid???
also, its the pandems that need to show more sincereity. many of pandems and protesters talk with a big mouth, but dont know and dont even bother to try to understand who and what you are dealing with. how many ppl know who zhang dejiang is? how about wang guangya? what kind of institution is the npc? what is its relationship with the central gov? if you cant answer those questions and dont want to know, then you have no right to protest anything to anyone.
jack.chang@bigpond.com
Where were Martin Lee & people like Anson Fan when their British Master were in HK before the handover? Why did not those people protest for Democracy then?
Jack Chang (Melbourne)
lasamiddleschool@126.com
sure sun yat sen overthrew the qing dynasty, but at least he knew what he was doing, why he did it, and who he was opposing.
today many protesters for this and that dont even put an effort to get to know the china and ccp they are protesting, how did the ccp come onto center stage and how did it evolve? dont care. how does chinas current political system work? dont wanna know. how are things conducted at the central and local levels? dont wanna find out. who should you 'negotiate' and voice concerns dealing directly with hk? even less important. But oppose anything chinese? big yes.
this widespread ignorance is failing hk and is reducing things of significance to shouting, chanting and soundbites. if you reli care about hks future and even that of the mainland, at least make an effort to talk intelligently about the subject and know how to constructively produce results.
cleareye
I sold my flat to a buyer. Both of our signatures were on the contract. However, I still have the right to demand the buyer to maintain the flat the way I see fit. Is this your rationale, Martin Lee?
chuchu59
Martin is a man of principle. At the same time he is also extremely stubborn. Of course Beijing will cite 'external interference/meddling' in HK affairs. Nothing new about that.
As for saying 'democracy must proceed step by step I consider this to be very vague. Few people would argue on this statement but when no details/timetable have been provided one has to wonder how sincere they can possibly be. Will it be 60 baby steps or 3 giant strides? The outlining of a timetable could in a way appease part of the crowd.

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