China's top legislature likely to work on details of HK electoral reform next week
Published: Mar 17, 2021 09:13 PM
Hong Kong Photo:VCG

Hong Kong Photo:VCG

Central Chinese officials on Hong Kong affairs wrapped up on Wednesday a three-day seminar with over 1,000 representatives from various sectors of Hong Kong on their opinions about the upcoming electoral reform in Hong Kong, including those from the opposition, and their opinions will be presented to the next meeting of China's top legislature for the election overhaul, officials told the Global Times. 

The next meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee is likely to be held next week. A person familiar with the matter told the Global Times that the detailed measures may come out in late March, given the urgency and complexity of the local law amendment in Hong Kong for the next step. 

A total of 66 seminars have been held by the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the liaison office of the central government in Hong Kong from Monday to Wednesday, in Hong Kong, gathering over 1,000 people including government officials, Legislative Council (LegCo) lawmakers, representatives from commerce and industry, finance, labor, professional, youth, women affairs, religion, districts and think tanks with not only pro-establishment groups but also pan-democratic figures, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Attendees laid out detailed suggestions for the electoral overhaul for Hong Kong, expecting that the process of formulating the legislature would speed up as soon as possible, giving out details in electing the chief executive and LegCo members. 

"Two major issues mentioned frequently at the seminars were whether to scrap the seats of district councilors, and the proportions of seats of LegCo taken by the Election Committee, by functional constituencies and by geographical constituencies," Elizabeth Quat, a lawmaker who attended one of the seminars on Tuesday, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Many attendees came up with a consensus about the electoral overhaul, which is necessary and will help bring Hong Kong back to "the right track" in practicing the "one country, two systems," she said, noting that they also hope that central authorities will finalize details of the overhaul as soon as possible to clarify the measures for selecting the chief executive and LegCo members. 

Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a press conference on Wednesday that not only pro-establishment groups but also representatives from the pan-democratic camp attended the seminars, without specifying who they were. The inclusion of different voices also refuted some West-led criticism that claimed the electoral reform aims to eliminate the voice of the opposition. 

Considering the urgency of the Hong Kong local law amendment, which will proceed after the central authorities decide on the reform plan, the country's top legislature is expected to hold the meeting on the details of the reform next week, a person familiar with the matter told the Global Times on Wednesday. "And a detailed plan will probably come out in late March," he said. 

Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong government, also told a session of the LegCo meeting on Wednesday that there will be several elections in the next 12 months, so the local law amendment is an urgent task, which requires the support and coordination of the LegCo. And she also suggested that the LegCo internal affairs group set up a working group to discuss the decision of the NPC for coordinating relevant work, according to media reports in Hong Kong.

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