Wang appeals for rational debate on political reform
New think tank will examine important developments in Hong Kong, Macao
Wang Guangya, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, urged people in Hong Kong to calmly and moderately express their views during the five-month public consultation on political reform.
He made the comments two days after formulation of procedures for the 2017 Chief Executive election officially began on Wednesday. Wang, who spoke in Beijing before attending inauguration of a new think tank which focuses on the two SARs, appealed for a sensible and pragmatic debate during the five-month consultation.
“In such a long period of time, I believe all walks of lives in Hong Kong could undertake rational thinking and communication over suggestions and opinions regarding the highly anticipated political reform,” he said. “I believe we can forge consensus if we are all rational.”
The National Association of Research on Hong Kong and Macao held its establishment assembly in Beijing on Friday morning. It will host its first seminar today (Saturday). Zhou Bo, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office (HMO) of the State Council, will deliver a speech.
Members of the association voiced their concerns at the Friday conference. Lau Siu-kai, ex-head of the Central Policy Unit and vice-chairman of the association, said Wang had explained which institutions would follow up key issues.
While Beijing will look into the city’s economic development, Wang was quoted as saying that discussion of issues, such as the weak national identity of city residents and media bias against the central government, should include all Hong Kong citizens.
Head of the association, Chen Zuoer, is a former HMO deputy director who liaised with the British government before the 1997 handover. Chen told the China News Agency that it was coincidental that the think tank was formed as the city began debating political reform.
Apart from growing interest by the country’s academics on the two SARs, Chen said new issues had surfaced during implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” policy. It was now time for academics to look more closely at these.
The association will examine a range of matters in Hong Kong and Macao, such as their economies, people’s livelihoods, society, culture and history. But Chen said they were nonetheless “obliged” to focus on the ongoing debate in Hong Kong.
“Political reform is a major event in the political life of Hong Kong society. Upon guidance of the relevant provisions of the Basic Law and decisions of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), I anticipate a heated and rational discussion in the SAR,” he said.
In Zhongshan, Guangdong province, visiting Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying urged Hong Kong entrepreneurs in the Pearl River Delta to discuss political reform in a pragmatic, inclusive way.
Other political leaders in Hong Kong also had a busy day. About 30 NPC deputies held a regular meeting with Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, on Friday afternoon.
One of the NPC deputies and a legislator, Ma Fung-kwok, said Zhang had reaffirmed Beijing’s firm stance on conformity with the Basic Law, NPCSC decisions and prerequisite for the CE to love the country and love Hong Kong.