CHINA Public consultation backs HKSAR improvements

CHINA

Public consultation backs HKSAR improvements

By GANG WEN in Hong Kong | China Daily

07:00, March 18, 2021

Citizens display China's national flag in support of implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" at Tamar Park in Hong Kong, March 6, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Electoral system changes are timely, say participants in city's 66 seminars

Representatives of a wide cross-section of Hong Kong society have expressed their support for improvements to the city's electoral system during a three-day public consultation held by high-level departments of the central authorities.

Zhang Xiaoming, a senior official in charge of Hong Kong affairs, said on Wednesday that participants in the 66 seminars agreed that the electoral reform moves were timely and necessary.

He made the remarks on the final day of the public consultation exercise, which involved around 1,000 participants.

They also said that the improvements can provide reliable institutional safeguards to ensure the full implementation of the "patriots administering Hong Kong "principle in the special administrative region, according to Zhang, deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office.

The official, a key host of the seminars, related that many participants said during the meetings that Hong Kong must not continue to be manipulated by anti-China disrupters and stressed that administrators should show more determination and courage in future governance.

Some suggested that the central authorities should attach more importance to the cultivation of patriotic political talent, in order to ensure the election of competent administrators and improve the SAR's overall governance, according to Zhang.

There were also many constructive suggestions, centering the concrete formation and election method of the Election Committee and the Legislative Council, as well as the system to vet candidates.

Zhang said departments of the central authorities will comprehensively reflect on the opinions and suggestions collected during the consultation event.

According to the decision of the National People's Congress, the Election Committee will be restructured and entrusted with the new function of electing a relatively large share of Legislative Council members.

Zhang said this means that lawmakers elected by Election Committee members will outnumber those elected by district and functional constituencies in the future legislature.

He also noted that it is necessary to adjust the number of district councilors' seats in the Election Committee, citing the Hong Kong Basic Law, which stipulates that district councils are a district-level government advisory body, not an organ of political power.

Also on Wednesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she had proposed that the president of the Legislative Council should set up in advance a subcommittee designated for the electoral changes.

After the government puts forward a bill on amending the local legislation, the subcommittee could start deliberation of it as soon as possible, she said.

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