Occupy Central

Occupy Central plan gets Hong Kong affairs chief's thumbs down

HK affairs chief says city does not want to be 'messed up' by proposed protest for democracy

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 March, 2013, 5:30am

A mainland official who oversees Hong Kong affairs says Hongkongers prefer not to see the city being "messed up" when asked about a law academic's proposal to block roads in Central district.

Wang Guangya, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, made the remarks in Shenzhen before meeting yesterday with a group of lawmakers loyal to Beijing.

"I think Hong Kong compatriots don't want to see Hong Kong being messed up. Hong Kong needs development," Wang said when asked if he believed the Occupy Central plan was beneficial to the city.

Qiao Xiaoyang, chairman of the National People's Congress Law Committee, was quoted by a lawmaker (who declined to be named) as accusing the "opposition camp" of "fuelling" the Occupy Central plan. Qiao said the plan was "partly truthful", "complex" and a "risk-everything" proposition.

The comments by the mainland officials follow a proposal by Benny Tai Yiu-ting, a University of Hong Kong associate law professor, to rally at least 10,000 people to block roads in Central on July 1 next year in pressing Beijing to keep its promise of allowing genuine universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive race.

Defining "loving the nation and Hong Kong", a criterion laid down by Beijing officials for the city's next leader, Wang said it was referring to those who "work for the good of the nation and Hong Kong's long-term prospects".

Asked if the pro-democracy camp could be seen as people who love the nation and the city, Wang said: "I think Hong Kong compatriots can differentiate in their heart whether what the main political parties and groups in Hong Kong do is good for Hong Kong and the nation, and what is not."

After the closed-door meeting, Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, quoted Wang as saying that it was "not strange to have problems pop up" when the mainland and Hong Kong were discussing ways to deepen their collaboration. "The key was mutual understanding," Wang reportedly said.

On whether Beijing would allow pan-democrats to visit the mainland, Wang reportedly said that a prerequisite of communication was "mutual respect and trust" and it could be considered "under suitable conditions".

HKU's Benny Tai said staging the road blockage would be the last resort, and it would not happen if the authorities' political reform proposal for the 2017 chief executive race was in line with public expectations.