Two Hong Kong pan-democrats pass protest letters to Beijing official at banquet sidelines
They say they hope to start a dialogue and deepen communication with the central government on city’s governance
Two Hong Kong opposition lawmakers held a brief meeting with a Beijing official on Friday on the sidelines of the banquet for visiting President Xi Jinping in which they voiced their concerns at the “distorted” implementation of the “one country, two systems” policy.
Dennis Kwok of the Civic Party described the 15-minute chat with Huang Liuquan, deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, as a “start” but “far from enough”.
“I hope they will interpret us going to the dinner as a gesture in which we are willing to lay the foundation for further dialogue with the central government,” Kwok said, referring to the banquet hosted by outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Friday night at the Grand Hyatt hotel.
There were nine pan-democrats among the 300 at the event.
“If they really care about Hong Kong the way they say they do, they have to deepen the dialogue [with pan-democrats] to make it a systematic dialogue rather than the sporadic and unsystematic one that we have right now.”
Kwok and Democratic Party leader Wu Chi-wai were given a heads-up at around 5pm that they would be able to meet Huang ahead of the banquet, so they could hand in three letters – one each from their parties and the last a statement signed by 20 pan-democratic lawmakers.
The statement urged Xi to restart political reform and uphold the one country, two systems principle, which they said had been distorted amid Beijing’s increasing interference in the city’s internal affairs.
The letters called on Xi to unconditionally release Nobel Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is now out on medical parole with terminal liver cancer.
Kwok said Huang had promised to convey their messages to state leaders but did not offer a concrete answer on Liu’s case.
Calling the meeting the “first step”, Wu echoed the need for Beijing to deepen communication with the pan-democrats.
Only through dialogue with different sectors, instead of listening selectively to a small group of people, could Beijing grasp a full picture of Hong Kong, Wu said.
Edward Yau Tang-wah, outgoing director of the Chief Executive’s Office, also attended the meeting. Several lawmakers who advocate self-determination for the city, including Demosisto’s Nathan Law Kwun-chung and independent Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, were not invited to the banquet.
Accountancy lawmaker Kenneth Leung, of the Professionals Guild, expressed disappointment that Xi did not highlight the importance of restarting political reform, which stalled in 2015, and failed to reach out to different sectors during his stay.
“[Xi] has been emphasising the success of one country, two systems without mentioning any errors and fallacies that we have witnessed in the two decades.
“He should see some real people.”