Local deputies break NPC taboo on airing dirty laundry Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress yesterday criticised the Hong Kong government and said 'internal struggles' were causing strife in the city. Their comments came at a panel discussion of the Hong Kong delegation to the nation's top legislature, attended by senior mainland officials including Gao Siren , director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, and Zhou Bo, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. Mr Gao called on the city to concentrate on economic development, describing it as a prerequisite for building a harmonious and stable society. 'I can feel that Hong Kong citizens increasingly understand how valuable social stability, harmony, co-ordination and unity are,' he said, urging sectors to communicate more. Despite the economic rebound of the past year, the city still needed to deal with some 'deep-seated economic problems', Mr Gao said. While saying border-crossing procedures should be streamlined to increase traffic, Mr Gao predicted Hong Kong's Disneyland - due to open in September - would provide a big boost to the local economy. Maria Tam Wai-chu, deputy convenor of the Hong Kong delegation, echoed Mr Gao's view that harmony was lacking in the city. 'Internal struggles have wasted much time and resources, which have undermined Hong Kong's external competitiveness,' Ms Tam said. 'There are too many internal conflicts. Different factions place their own interests above the overall situation; that's why they can't fully co-operate with each other.' She said communication and debate should replace protests and marches, and people should be more tolerant towards others. 'In this way, our internal conflicts would be eliminated, so as to avoid unnecessary arguments.' Another Hong Kong deputy, Victor Sit Fung-shuen, called on colleagues to point out the inadequacies of Hong Kong officials. 'To improve the city's governance is not related to the framework of the Basic Law or the special administrative region, but is related to the performance of the officials.' Mr Sit said the problem had been highlighted more than a year ago, but had yet to be resolved. 'As NPC deputies, we should praise those officials who perform well but criticise those who failed their duties.' He also said that not only were there inadequacies in implementing the Basic Law in Hong Kong, but also instances where the law had been breached. The deputies' criticism is regarded as unusual. In the past, delegates refrained from commenting at length about the city's affairs, as the panel is seen as a forum for its delegates to discuss state affairs. Most of the deputies who spoke at the meeting praised the support shown by the central government for Hong Kong. They cited such measures as the implementation of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and the individual traveller scheme.