Legislators urge HK say in reform talks

Linda Choy

LEGISLATORS from the conservative and liberal camps yesterday pleaded with China and Britain to give Hongkong people a final say in future political development.

Mr Allen Lee Peng-fei of the Liberal Party and United Democrats vice-chairman, Mr Yeung Sum, said the outcome of the Sino-British talks should be agreed by the people of Hongkong.

Mr Lee said it was impossible for Britain to guarantee the implementation of agreements with China after the talks.

''The Legislative Council has to approve the results of the talks in legislative form.'' And he said the two governments should find their own channels to inform Legco if they wanted the political reform bill to be approved.

''They ought to consult Legco in order to get it passed. Legco is not a rubber stamp.'' Mr Lee said he had passed the message to the State Council's Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office director, Mr Lu Ping, as well as Chinese premier, Mr Li Peng.

Mr Yeung said the Government should report to Legco about the progress of talks to make sure that Hongkong people would accept their agreement.

The Government should also consult Legco's views without revealing the opinions of the two countries in the discussion, he said.

The United Democrats insisted a referendum be carried out to let Hongkong people decide the future of political development in the territory.

But Mr Tsang Yok-sing, chairman of the pro-China Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hongkong, said Hongkong people must not over-ride the agreement reached by China and Britain.

''If we are saying that Legco should not become a rubber stamp to approve any agreement between the two countries, then, similarly, should we ask Britain and China to succumb to the pressure of the legislators and become their rubber stamp?'' he asked.

Meanwhile, some legislators yesterday welcomed reports that the Governor, Mr Chris Patten, had set a one-month deadline on the talks.

Independent legislator Miss Christine Loh Kung-wai said it was necessary in order to prevent the recurrence of delays of the new airport project.

Her view was echoed by Mr Yeung, who warned that the confidence of Hongkong people would be greatly hit if the talks dragged on indefinitely.