Beijing will keep a close watch on Hong Kong's electoral reform: Maria Tam

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 August, 2014, 4:25am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 August, 2014, 4:25am

The central government will be very closely monitoring the city's political reform, a prominent Beijing loyalist has warned.

Basic Law Committee member Maria Tam Wai-chu was interpreting remarks that Zhang Xiaoming, Beijing's top representative in Hong Kong, made on Thursday.

"The political reform is a matter within a family, and Hong Kong is part of the family. This is the reality and this is a fact," Tam said yesterday.

On Thursday, Zhang, director of Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong, stressed the need to consider electoral changes "from the perspective of national security". He said Beijing must not allow Hong Kong to become a base of subversion against the central authorities.

Zhang's deputy, Yin Xiaojing, yesterday reiterated his point, saying the central government would firmly oppose any reform plan that violated the Basic Law and went against the rule of law.

Tam said Zhang's words on national security meant that the central government was monitoring developments in political reform for the 2017 chief executive election "very closely".

"Beijing won't let foreign influences interfere," she said.

Tam urged the pan-democrats to stop being confrontational and instead sit down and discuss the issues. "Use the remaining two weeks to talk and don't waste the chance," she said.

Tam's comments come as the National People's Congress Standing Committee prepares to meet at the end of the month to lay down a framework for electoral reform for 2017.

Beijing has dismissed public nomination - which the pan-democrats have called for - as a legal way to select candidates, insisting that the nominating committee must have the exclusive power to do so.

But the pan-democrats are concerned that a high threshold for nomination will be set so that the committee can easily oust candidates who are not favoured by Beijing.