Symposium discusses key HK principle

2021-03-03 12:02:33

The Chinese national flags and flags of the Hong Kong SAR flutter in Hong Kong. [Photo/Xinhua] Experts look at how to implement 'patriots governing Hong Kong' Hong Kong politicians and academics put forward proposals to implement the "patriots governing Hong Kong" principle after a two-day symposium concluded in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Monday. The symposium, attended by Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, was held to solicit opinions from representatives of all walks of life in Hong Kong on improving the special administrative region's electoral system and upholding the principle of "patriots governing Hong Kong". Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, proposed setting up a special unit to vigorously vet candidates for the Legislative Council and District Councils, as well as members of the Chief Executive Election Committee. This would ensure that only patriots are allowed to run for posts that are related to the city's governance, Lau added. The unit could seek assistance from the national security organs of the HKSAR and the central government in Hong Kong if necessary, suggested Lau, who attended the symposium. Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, a lawmaker and member of the Basic Law Committee, supported establishing such a unit. But she added that the unit could also shoulder the responsibility of conducting regular reviews of people that have taken public office. She cited some "less than ideal "incidents that happened before the enactment of the National Security Law for Hong Kong in June 2020.Some district councilors started advocating separatism once taking office, although they had pledged allegiance to the Basic Law and the Hong Kong SAR with the returning officers, who only determine the eligibility of candidates before they stand for public office. In addition, Gary Chan Hak-kan, a legislator from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said that encouraging patriots to take up public office is also an important step to implement the patriots governance principle. His party announced on Tuesday the launch of a public course discussing how to govern Hong Kong, bringing in current and former senior officials, as well as scholars from the HKSAR and the mainland to lecture on crucial matters about Hong Kong's future, including China's place in the changing world landscape, Hong Kong's role in this, and how different political entities shall cooperate with each other and with the people. The objective of the course is to broaden the horizons of aspiring individuals and to explore the way forward for Hong Kong's governance, said Chan.