CHINA / POLITICS
60 seminars in 3 days: Central govt officials collect views in HK on electoral reform
Published: Mar 15, 2021 10:07 PM
Aerial photo taken on March 6, 2021 shows people displaying China's national flag and the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in support of implementing the principle of patriots administering Hong Kong at Tamar Park in Hong Kong, south China.(Photo: Xinhua)

Aerial photo taken on March 6, 2021 shows people displaying China's national flag and the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in support of implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" at Tamar Park in Hong Kong, south China.(Photo: Xinhua)



The senior officials from the central government on Hong Kong affairs are extensively listening to the views of all sectors of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and discussing how to implement National People's Congress's (NPC) decision on improving the electoral system of Hong Kong.

Experts from Hong Kong and the mainland told the Global Times on Monday that the three-day trip, which started on Monday, reflected the central government's determination to fix loopholes in safeguarding national security and sovereignty as well as the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong by fully taking public opinion in Hong Kong into account. 

Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, said at a meeting on Monday with representatives from the HKSAR government and other sectors of society, that the main purpose of the trip in Hong Kong is to listen to people's views. 

More than 60 meetings and seminars will be held on three consecutive days with attendance of over 1,000 representatives from various sectors of Hong Kong, local media Ming Pao reported.  

Top HKSAR officials, including Chief Secretary of Administration Matthew Cheung and Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng, HKSAR Executive Council member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee , Victor Li Tzar Kuoi, chairman and managing director of property developer CK Asset Holdings, and Peter Lee Ka-kit, co-chairman of Henderson Land Development Co, also attended the meeting on Monday, local media hket.com reported. 

To ensure the principle of only patriots governing Hong Kong, the NPC adopted a decision on improving Hong Kong's electoral system on March 11. 

To expand the scope of participation and achieve balanced representation, the number of seats on the Election Committee will be increased from 1,200 to 1,500. The number of seats in the Hong Kong Legislative Council will be increased from 70 to 90, with a balanced distribution of seats returned by geographical constituencies, functional constituencies and the Election Committee, according to the decision. 

Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan studies at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times that the trip shows that the central government is actively seeking Hong Kong people's understanding about the decision to improve the electoral system. 

Since the social turmoil in 2019, the loopholes in the local administration of Hong Kong have been fully exposed, severely threatening social stability, which made the electoral reform highly necessary, Li said. 

Tang Fei, principal at Hong Kong's Heung To Secondary School (Tseung Kwan O), told the Global Times on Monday that Hong Kong people showed more confidence than doubt about the electoral system reform.

"Many citizens have voluntarily signed their names to support the NPC Standing Committee to reform the electoral system… people hope to end the political uproar in Hong Kong as soon as possible, which has interfered with economic development and people's livelihoods," Tang said.
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