Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor heaped praise on an overhaul of the city’s electoral system on Wednesday as she hosted a television talk show to explain the Beijing-imposed changes. The programme Get to Know the Election Committee Subsectors aired on the government-run RTHK TV31 channel, featuring Lam chatting with guests from various industries that are represented on the powerful body that selects the city’s chief executive. The first sitting Hong Kong chief executive to host a talk show, Lam announced her debut on Facebook two days ago, stressing that the restructured Election Committee was a core element in the impending reforms. There will be 40 episodes in the series, with two new ones aired daily. On Wednesday’s instalment, Lam and Professor Wong Yuk-shan, a local deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC) as well as a member of the Basic Law Committee, hailed the care shown by the central government to Hong Kong, in endorsing the electoral overhaul last month. Wong, as a Basic Law Committee member, will be given a seat on the Election Committee. “Under the constitutional order, in the past 12 months, the NPC Standing Committee had convened four times to help solve issues related to Hong Kong,” Lam said, citing the postponement of the Legislative Council elections last year, the enactment of the national security law, oath-taking requirements for public officers, as well as electoral reforms. Wong also said he felt honoured to serve on the NPC, the country’s top legislature, noting: “In the whole nation, there are about 3,000 NPC deputies. But for Hong Kong alone with a population of about 7.5 million, we can have 36 NPC deputies. It shows the central government attaches much importance to Hong Kong people’s views.” Carrie Lam ‘most liberal-minded’ leader Hong Kong has ever had: top adviser The second episode on Wednesday featured Bunny Chan Chung-bun, of the community group Kowloon Federation of Associations, who praised the Beijing-imposed reforms and said many local residents he met did not think it was a step backwards for democracy. “They understand democracy is only the means, the goal should be for the people to enjoy better livelihoods and good governance,” Chan told Lam on the show. Chan’s federation and its 300 member groups can elect representatives to the Election Committee, under the proposed reforms. Lam also praised the federation for contributing to the harmony of society and building mutual assistance in the community. She said the reformed Election Committee, with an increased membership from 1,200 to 1,500, would make it more representative of groups and allow for balanced participation of various sectors. Lam’s show was made possible after RTHK dropped the educational series Agricultural Paradis e, of which a rerun was initially set to be aired on the same time slot. While the embattled public broadcaster underwent an editorial overhaul after the appointment of bureaucrat Patrick Li Pak-chuen as its new head last month, several current affairs shows had been shelved at the last minute over concerns with accuracy and bias. The station has also been hit by a wave of resignations, with at least six senior staff members quitting since Li’s arrival. An RTHK spokesman said: “The charter of RTHK requires that RTHK, as a public service broadcaster, engender a sense of citizenship and national identity through programmes that contribute to the understanding of our community and nation. [Lam’s] programme … is in line with the charter.” Last month, the NPC Standing Committee endorsed an overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system to ensure only “patriots” governed the city. The amendments will reduce directly elected seats in Legco, and give new power to the Election Committee to vet and elect candidates to the legislature. Hong Kong’s lawmakers are scrutinising a government bill to amend related local legislation for the Beijing-decreed reforms. The Election Committee subsector elections will be held on September 19. The Legco polls will be held on December 19, with the chief executive election to be on March 27 next year.