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Two central government agencies, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) and Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, have criticised opposition filibustering tactics. They called “dirty tricks” and blame them for delaying government work involving economic and livelihood issues in the city.
Filibustering, meaning to delay laws being passed in the legislature, has been going on since last October, as part of the anti-government protests. The opposition lawmakers were accused of having a “If we burn, you burn with us” or lam chau mentality, reflected in a popular slogan of last year’s protest movement.
The Legislative Council House Committee has so far failed to elect a chairman. This means many pieces of legislation have been unable to be put to a vote. The liaison office counted 14 bills and more than 80 subsidiary pieces of legislation that had been held up.
Legal sector lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, of the opposition Civic Party, was among those singled out in the HKMAO statement for allegedly abusing his power by allowing the delays.
The Liaison Office also accused him and other Legislative Council members of preventing the legislature from fulfilling its constitutional duties by using delaying tactics, calling their actions a breach of the lawmakers’ oath to “uphold the Basic Law, bear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR, and serve the Hong Kong SAR conscientiously, dutifully”.
On Monday, Kwok rejected the two Beijing agencies’ criticism as “unfounded and political invective”. He said the agencies had no role to play in the city’s domestic affairs and may have been in breach of the “one country, two systems” principle.
The opposition camp said they are responding to people’s demands, and that Legco’s operations did not fall under the areas of “national defence” or “diplomacy” which are identified as the central government’s responsibility under the Basic Law.
Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said Legco procedures are “100 per cent local affairs. The central government pressuring or reminding some people to take action is completely inappropriate and is stepping on the one country, two systems principle”.