Date
23 August 2017
A lone figure stands among banners and signage left behind by supporters of the election reform bill after its defeat Thursday in Legco. Photo: USP
A lone figure stands among banners and signage left behind by supporters of the election reform bill after its defeat Thursday in Legco. Photo: USP

Beijing demands review after crushing defeat of election bill

Beijing wants a review of the political reform proposal after its crushing defeat in the Legislative Council on Thursday.

And central authorities are telling pro-government politicians to learn from the experience.

Ming Pao Daily is reporting that they were summoned to the Beijing Liaison Office in Hong Kong immediately after the vote which was marred by confusion when 33 of them inexplicably walked off the chamber.

However, some pro-Beijing senior figures say those lawmakers did not intend to boycott the vote.

Lo Man-tuen, who sits on the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s highest political advisory body, called the incident a “low class technical mistake”.

Despite that, he said Beijing’s stance on “one country, two systems” and its policies on Hong Kong will not change.

Lau Siu-kai, another CPPCC deputy and a former chief adviser to the Hong Kong government, blamed the confusion on lack of coordination, saying the group did not intend to miss the vote.

It fell to eight pro-reform legislators, who reportedly knew nothing about the walkout, to carry the fight before the Beijing-endorsed bill crashed under the weight of a “no” vote from all 27 pan-democrats who delivered as promised.

A pro-government lawmaker put the icing on the cake with a 28th “no” vote.

Beijing’s use of the word “review” means it is treating the matter seriously and there could be repercussions for some pro-establishment politicians, according to some observers cited by Ming Pao.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said the result was something Beijing “did not want to see”, language that is often interpreted as official displeasure.

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TL/AC/RA

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