Recent Hong Kong court rulings show ‘rainbow after storm’, Zhang Xiaoming says

Liaison office director hails ‘rule of law’ and declares that ‘separatist forces were dealt a heavy blow’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 7:50pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 10:17pm

Beijing’s top official in Hong Kong has suggested that recent events such as the disqualification of lawmakers over improper oaths and the conviction of Mong Kok rioters, show “a rainbow after the storm” as society gets back on track.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the central government’s liaison office in the city, also said he was glad to see a smooth start to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s five-year term.

In a 37-minute speech at the inauguration of a preparatory committee for National Day celebrations, Zhang started off by saying it was encouraging for Hong Kong to be visited by President Xi Jinping, as well as the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.

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The festivities last month were to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese rule.

“Hong Kong’s situation is improving,” Zhang said.

Last month, pan-democrats Nathan Law Kwun-chung, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim were unseated by the High Court for failing to take their Legislative Council oaths properly.

Zhang said the ruling meant “Hong Kong independence and separatist forces were dealt a heavy blow”.

“Justice was manifested, and the rule of law was also strongly defended as three Mong Kok rioters were convicted and sentenced by the District Court,” he added.

On Monday, a rioter involved in last year’s Mong Kok violence was sentenced to a training centre, while two others were jailed for three years.

Zhang then touched on a controversial plan allowing national laws to be enforced in the Hong Kong terminus of a cross-border rail link to Guangzhou.

Pan-democrats had vowed to derail the plan, which would lease a quarter of the premises to mainland authorities to carry out immigration duties. Critics said the move would destroy the “one country, two systems” principle.

But Zhang said: “The mainstream voice in Hong Kong endorsed the co-location arrangement … as its benefits for the city’s long-term development are obvious.

“Looking back, this really confirms the saying that a ‘rainbow would always appear after the storm’.”

In a reference to the city’s political conflicts, Zhang said there were “objective and inevitable” reasons why some social phenomenon had emerged in the last five years.

“After efforts were made by various sectors, amid arguments and showdowns, society has gained a more comprehensive understanding of ‘one country, two systems’ … Hong Kong is also showing the most significant improvement since the handover,” he concluded.

Zhang went on to say that he believed the city had an “encouraging development prospect”, citing a more positive spirit felt in society.