Jasper Tsang wants to see Beijing appoint adviser to chief executive

Former Legco president says role would not undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 February, 2017, 11:47am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 2:45am

Hong Kong’s former Legislative Council president has suggested that Beijing appoint a political adviser to the chief executive so the city’s leader would be able to seek the central government’s views on issues within Beijing’s purview.

But Jasper Tsang Yok-sing’s proposal on Monday drew a lukewarm response from Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, Hong Kong’s sole representative on the nation’s highest legislature, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, and former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen.

The suggestion is among the package of proposals Hong Kong Vision, a think thank chaired by Tsang, unveiled on Sunday for the next chief executive.

On matters that come under the central government’s purview or those concerning relations between Beijing and the Hong Kong government, Tsang said the chief executive could seek advice from the appointed adviser, he said.

He added that the adviser should be a mainlander assigned to work inside the Chief Executive’s Office.

“I don’t think the adviser’s role would undermine Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy,” he said on an RTHK programme on Monday, claiming decisions on matters such as the Territory-wide System Assessment education policy would still be made by the Executive Council.

The former Legco president argued that such a position had existed during the city’s colonial days.

Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said that when Hong Kong was a British colony, the political adviser to the governor was an official from the British government.

She said David Wilson, who was governor from 1987 to 1992, served as political adviser to governor in late 1970s.

“I would not be able to comment on Mr Tsang’s proposal. However, I think there should be a channel of communication between the two sides,” Fan said.

“It doesn’t have to be a person, but that understanding of each other’s views or position is helpful or handling any matters which affect both sides.”

Tang questioned if it is necessary for Beijing should appoint a political adviser to improve communication between Beijing and Hong Kong.

“I believe that Mr Tsang made the recommendation out of a good will … We have this position now. Mr Chan Kin-ping [senior special assistant to the chief executive] is the main channel of communication between the Chief executive’s Office and Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office,” the former chief secretary said.

“We might not need to create an advisory role when we already have it.”

Tsang’s think tank also supported restarting Article 23 national security legislation, suggesting its implementation could be achieved in phases.