Hongkong's deputies to NPC 'must be patriotic'

HONGKONG deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) must be ''patriotic'' and supportive of Beijing's policies, according to senior officials of the Guangdong People's Congress.

Speaking while attending the third day of the Guangdong People's Congress, chairman Mr Lin Ruo said the Hongkong deputies must meet the ''patriotic'' criterion.

Yesterday afternoon, delegates to the congress selected 162 Guangdong deputies to the NPC, who include the Hongkong contingent of 28 and the Macau contingent of five.

While the election of the 33 Hongkong and Macau candidates were ''guaranteed'' under a ''single-candidate system'', 154 other Guangdong candidates, including central and local officials, had to vie for the remaining 129 seats.

However, it is understood that 13 candidates who are senior officials, including Justice Minister Mr Cai Cheng and Head of the Overseas Chinese Department Mr Liao Hui would also be ''guaranteed'' seats on the legislature.

It is also a foregone conclusion that Guangdong Governor Mr Zhu Senlin, Shenzhen mayor Mr Li Youwei, party chief Mr Li Hao, and Zhuhai party chief Mr Liang Guangda, will be elected.

The full results will not be known until this morning because the Guangdong legislature lacks computerisation.

While talking yesterday, Mr Lin, a former party chief of Guangdong, said Hongkong-based legislators must support the policies of the Chinese Government, including ''socialist policies''.

''It is totally unacceptable for Chinese people not to love their motherland,'' Mr Lin stressed.

But when asked if the 28 newly-elected Hongkong deputies could meet the criteria or not, Mr Lin said he only knew very few of them and he basically relied on the recommendation of the Hongkong branch of the New China News Agency (NCNA).

Mr Lin added the number of Hongkong NPC deputies was substantially increased this year because their tenure would straddle 1997.

Mr Wang Rudeng, assistant director of the local branch of the NCNA and the head of the Hongkong delegation to the Guangdong People's Congress, stressed that the Hongkong deputies should love the motherland, support the Basic Law and support socialism.

When asked why so many leaders of the pro-China political groups in Hongkong were nominated to the NPC, Mr Wang said NPC deputies were, by nature, required to take part in political discussion and analysis, therefore it was natural to recruit politicalactivists.

''It must be noted that Hongkong NPC deputies are not supposed to focus their concern on Hongkong affairs only, they should pay more attention to national affairs at a wider scope,'' he said.

However, most of the delegates to the Guangdong legislature admitted they had little knowledge about the Hongkong deputies although they had voted for all of them.

Guangzhou Mayor Mr Li Ziliu said the special, ''single candidate'' voting system for Hongkong was fair.

He indicated that since the candidates were nominated in Hongkong, they must be carefully considered. Mr Li said all the nominated candidates could be ''trusted''.

''The single-candidate system [for Hongkong candidates] is better than if we were given a choice because our decision could be wrong,'' he said.

An official from the Hongkong branch of the NCNA Mr Li Wai-ting said the line-up of Hongkong candidates was representative of every sector.

Mr Li said when considering whether to endorse the 28 Hongkong candidates, delegates to the Guangdong legislature tended to be concerned with ''their attitude towards socialism''.