Changes are necessary to ensure only patriots rule Hong Kong, a former central government liaison office legal chief said, fueling speculation that Beijing will overhaul the SAR’s electoral system during the “Two Sessions” meetings next month.
The patriot requirement has been long established, Wang Zhenmin of Tsinghua University’s Center for Hong Kong and Macau Research said in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency.
Deng Xiaoping laid down rules for “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong,” he said, which meant it must be run mainly by patriotic Hongkongers.
And President Xi Jinping emphasized the necessity of patriots governing Hong Kong to ensure the robustness of “one country, two systems” when Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor made a duty report to him last month.
But Wang said there had been “shocking” situations in Hong Kong over the past few years when election candidates tried to win support by becoming more “independent, radical and destructive.”
It was abnormal to see more and more people elected under the banner of independence, he went on. That indicated loopholes in mechanisms in Hong Kong, and they posed hazards.
Changes were also necessary to keep up with recent developments and to ensure the fundamental principle of “patriots ruling Hong Kong” could be enforced, he said.
Wang’s comments came two weeks before the “Two Sessions” – the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference – are to be held in Beijing.
Among reports are strong suggestions that changes will include removing 117 district councilors from the Election Committee that chooses the chief executive and scrapping the district council “super seats” in the Legislative Council election.
Pan-democrats made an almost clean sweep of the district councils in the last elections.
Meanwhile, Beijing’s representative office in Hong Kong has seen a personnel reshuffle.
Wang Songmiao, who worked at the office of the supreme people’s procuratorate, is taking the job of secretary-general at the liaison office in Hong Kong, replacing Wen Hongwu.
Wang Songmiao, 52, served for 22 years at the Procuratorial Daily before becoming director of the supreme procuratorate office in 2016.
As for Wen, who once headed Sino United Publishing, he is rumored to be taking the helm at an upcoming state enterprise in Hong Kong that will run the publishing, cultural and entertainment sectors – a move to increase the state’s cultural influence.