Carrie Lam launches new bid to convince pan-democrats to back Hong Kong reform package
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will hold a fresh round of meetings to lobby pan-democrat lawmakers to support the government’s political reform package, the constitutional affairs minister confirmed today.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Legislative Council meeting, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen also emphasised that the administration would “spare no effort” in securing the approval of the reform package, which will be officially tabled in the legislature on June 17.
The revelation about the new round of meetings came days after Beijing officials and pan-democrats lawmakers failed to narrow down their differences in a dialogue in Shenzhen on Sunday.
Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit also said since Beijing officials such as Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei insisted on their firm stance, he “does not know what effect the upcoming meeting is going to achieve”.
“I will attend the meeting with local officials because it is the responsibility of lawmakers,” he added.
Leong’s party colleague Dennis Kwok said the Civic Party will meet the chief secretary at noon tomorrow, while Democratic Party lawmaker Sin Chung-kai said his party received an invitation to meet Lam, Tam and justice minister Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung at 11am on Friday.
The Labour Party has confirmed it will meet Lam on Monday, while Frederick Fung Kin-kee, from the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, will meet her on Tuesday afternoon.
Sin believes that all six Democrat lawmakers will attend the meeting, but a final decision will be made after an internal meeting tomorrow.
On the sidelines of the Legco meeting on Wednesday, Tam insisted: “The government would spare no effort [in lobbying lawmakers].”
He also said one should not presume whether the dialogue will be fruitful or not.
When asked whether the meeting will be meaningful, the minister said: “The meeting is a meaningful [act] in itself.”
Last August, Beijing ruled that when Hong Kong elects its leader by “one man, one vote” in 2017, it must choose from two or three candidates endorsed by a 1,200-strong nominating committee. All 27 pan-democrat lawmakers vowed to vote down the government’s package as it strictly follows Beijing’s ruling, which deprives voters of a “genuine” choice of candidates.
Meanwhile, Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan said he met about 10 consulates general and ambassadors from the European Union and its member countries, including the Netherlands and Ireland, with Civic Party leader Leong and the Democrats’ chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing today.
Lee said the diplomats asked them about their stance on political reform.
"Some asked us whether it would be better to 'pocket it first', and then with a [better] relationship, it will be possible to improve the system in the future," Lee said. "But I told them we don't think so because approving the proposal means we are losing the spiritual fight."