Beijing’s involvement in Hong Kong electoral reform not due to me: Carrie Lam

2021.02.23
Beijing s involvement in Hong Kong electoral reform not due to me Carrie Lam

Chief Executive Carrie Lam denied Beijing’s plan to push electoral reform in Hong Kong was due to her incompetent performance and blamed it on her predecessors instead, after a top CCP official laid out principles that only patriots can occupy key roles in the Hong Kong government.

Xia Baolong, director of Hong Kong & Macau Affairs Office, on Monday outlined principles of an electoral reform to ensure positions in the executive administration, legislature, judiciary and law enforcement agencies are held only by “staunch patriots.”

Speaking to the press before the weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Lam denied that her poor performance drove the central government’s decision to get involved in the city’s electoral reform.

Lam said Xia’s comment was clear when he mentioned that hate speech against the Chinese and Hong Kong governments was generated every time when a controversial political agenda was brought up in the past.

Political incidents such as the proposed implementation of Basic Law Article 23 in 2003, the introduction of the national education curriculum, the Occupy Central movement in 2014, Mong Kok unrest in 2016 and the mass anti-government protests sparked by the anti-extradition bill in 2019 have left Beijing very worried, Lam said.

To keep the situation from deteriorating to the point where it would be difficult to implement the “one country, two systems” principle, issues including an electoral reform should be solved by the central authorities, she added.

Lam stressed it had nothing to do with her performance as the issues mentioned had existed for a long time. “When the issues have existed for too long, to a certain level or to a certain moment, encouragement and determination would be needed to set things straight and to put things right,” Lam said.

When asked if the Hong Kong judges involved in political cases were questioned for not being patriotic enough according to Xia’s definition of “staunch patriot,” Lam responded that the Basic Law has stated that the judiciary institution has independent judicial power including the power of final adjudication, and there are clear rules on judge appointment.

However, Lam sidestepped when asked if people linked with democratic organizations including the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China would be able to run in any future elections.

While reiterating that people in Hong Kong still have the right to be elected and the right to vote, Lam said her administration would announce the oath-taking requirements for public officers and the consequences of non-compliance soon.

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