Hong Kong leaders will be required to present a "warts and all'' report on the job they are doing during future duty visits to Beijing, a top mainland official in charge of the city's affairs said yesterday.
Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Wang Guangya made the call as he slammed the door firmly shut on the public being allowed to nominate candidates for chief executive as the SAR enters a key period of political reform.
Wang - who said such a move would contradict the city's mini-constitution - is the first mainland official to declare public nomination a non-starter since the city embarked on a five- month-long period of public consultation on democratic development earlier this month.
His requirement for a more candid and detailed duty visit report is being seen as a move to make the visits less of a ritual courtesy call and more a practical and hard-nosed look at how the city is being run. Wang, however, did acknowledge Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's hard work over the past year, adding that popularity was not the most important factor when evaluating performance.
Leung, who ended his three-day duty visit yesterday with calls on ministries in Beijing, denied he had only reported good news to the leaders.
"We have thoroughly and objectively reported the city's situation [to Beijing]," said Leung. He did not reveal what shortcomings were addressed.
Wang made his remarks yesterday after Leung and three ministers - commerce chief Greg So Kam-leung, financial services chief Professor Chan Ka-keung and housing chief Anthony Cheung Bing-leung - met him in the capital.
"In the past, [Hong Kong and Macau chief executives] might mostly report on what they have achieved in the last year, but now we also require them to search out the shortcomings," he said.
On political reform, Wang said allowing the public to nominate chief executive hopefuls was "definitely rather far away from [the framework of] Basic Law", adding that only through mutual respect and communication would Hongkongers be able to forge a consensus on the reform. He described the Occupy Central movement as an attempt to "destroy the rule of law''.
When asked if he was satisfied with the performance of Leung, Wang said: "Popularity ratings fluctuate every day - just like stocks. We have to see if the policies [put forward by Leung] have met the people's needs … To the central government, Leung has been making lots of effort over the past year."
Separately, Leung called on the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission yesterday with Chan and Cheung respectively. He said the government would file a proposal to the commission regarding China's 13th five-year plan starting from 2016.
Former Central Policy Unit head Professor Lau Siu-kai, who first revealed Beijing's plan to "standardise" annual duty visits, believed the new rules would encourage the local government to be more dedicated to its duties.