The central government's top representative in Hong Kong has not been nominated as a candidate in the NPC Standing Committee election. An inside source told the South China Morning Post that Gao Siren, director of Beijing's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, is not on the 167-strong list of candidates for today's poll. Mr Gao is a member of the 181-strong presidium of the 10th NPC, which drafted the list of candidates. His predecessor, Jiang Enzhu, was elected as a Standing Committee member of the 9th National People's Congress in 1998. Xu Jiatun and Zhou Nan, the former directors of Xinhua's Hong Kong branch, were elected to the Standing Committee in the 1980s and 1990s. Xinhua's Hong Kong branch, the de facto Chinese embassy in the city before the handover, was renamed as Beijing's Liaison Office in 2000. 'Mr Gao was not nominated because his office is a state agency,' the source said. 'Mainland government officials are not allowed to sit on the NPC Standing Committee.' Mr Xu and Mr Zhou joined the top lawmaking body's Standing Committee as Xinhua's Hong Kong branch was an organ of the Communist Party. In Mr Jiang's case, he was elected a Standing Committee member two years before the branch turned into a state organ, the source said. Tsang Hin-chi, who has been a Standing Committee member for the past 10 years, will now be the only Hong Kong representative on the body.