Date
21 August 2017
A cardboard cut-out of Chinese President Xi Jinping carrying a yellow umbrella -- a symbol of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong -- stands amid a group of activists camping out near the central government offices in the city. Photo: AFP
A cardboard cut-out of Chinese President Xi Jinping carrying a yellow umbrella -- a symbol of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong -- stands amid a group of activists camping out near the central government offices in the city. Photo: AFP

Xi vows to maintain firm grip on Hong Kong

President Xi Jinping has reiterated that Hong Kong must always be under the jurisdiction of China, and accused some groups of trying to use political reform as an excuse to steer the territory away from the mainland, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.

Xi made the remarks last week during the fourth plenary session of the Communist Party’s 18th Central Committee, the report said, citing sources.

Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said he will not confirm whether Xi indeed made such comments.

However, the fact is any issue regarding political reform must be approved by the CPPCC, and Hong Kong can only follow, he said.

Words like “autonomy” used by the street occupiers in Hong Kong will never be accepted by Beijing, he said, adding that the only way to overturn CPPCC’s decisions is through the Legislative Council.

Meanwhile, Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), said Thursday night that discussions have begun on whether there should be representatives from street protesters in a delegation that plans to go to Beijing next month.

The delegation is said to be planning a trip early November when an APEC meeting will take place in the Chinese capital.

Chow said Beijing should conduct a dialogue with students if it values Hong Kong people’s opinions. 

Regina Ip, leader of the New People’s Party and a former security chief, said Xi’s words show that he holds a hard-line stance on the Occupy movement that is seen as a challenge to Beijing’s authority.

If students keep asking for the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and the withdrawal of Beijing’s decision on the 2017 election framework, it will only push Hong Kong further way from universal suffrage, Ip warned.

Independent political commentator Johnny Lau said there is great gap between the stance of Beijing and the protesters, and that the central government is unlikely to give Hong Kong more room on political reform.

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TL/AC/RC

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