Carrie Lam ‘respects’ checks and balances in Hong Kong’s political system

Chief executive responds to attack by Beijing official against tactics of pan-democrats, including filibustering in the Legislative Council and radical advocacy of Hong Kong independence

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 August, 2017, 10:56pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 August, 2017, 10:56pm

The chief executive said she respected the city’s system of checks and balances after a Beijing official claimed Hong Kong’s opposition camp was obstructing the administration and posed the greatest obstacle to the city’s democratic development.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who has vowed to mend the rift between the executive and legislative branches, was put in an embarrassing position after the Deputy Secretary General of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and head of the Basic Law Committee, Li Fei, blasted the pan-democrats.

In an interview with a mainland magazine published on Thursday, Li said opposition forces were the crucial reason behind chaos in Hong Kong, including a failure to enact national security legislation and introduce national education, filibustering in the Legislative Council and radical advocacy of Hong Kong independence.

“Their tactics are to constantly stir up political disputes, create trouble and slow down the work of the Hong Kong government, incite the public’s dissatisfaction with the administration and prompt people to lose confidence in ‘one country two systems’, in order to achieve their political aims,”Li said.

He added that the opposition had tried to threaten Beijing by initiating the Occupy movement in 2014 and described their acts as “the greatest obstacle” to the development of a democratic system.

“The central and Hong Kong governments and the city’s public will never give up their stance and compromise. It is foreseeable that this struggle will continue.” Li warned.

Responding to Li’s comments on Saturday, Lam said the government respected the existence of a check and balance system but hoped the executive and the legislative branches would achieve a certain degree of coordination.

“We respect the legislature in scrutinising and questioning our work, but in the end we want to be able to do practical things for the community.”

Democratic Party leader Wu Chi-wai called on Lam not to be swayed and utilise her power to safeguard “one country, two systems”. Wu believed Lam still had room to work even if she was pressured by Beijing.

Meanwhile, Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, the city’s sole representative on the National People‘s Congress Standing Committee, said Hong Kong teachers who hated the Communist Party were the reason why youngsters also had such sentiments.

Fan, who was interviewed by former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing on Cable TV, said youngsters were patriotic under British colonial rule, yet teenagers turned against Beijing after the handover.

“It is not related to the Communist Party... It is related to liberal studies,” Fan suggested, saying the bias of teachers had influenced students.

She proposed amending the compulsory subject in the Diploma of Secondary Education examination.